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"We're coming into the stages where you can't hide, you either have the legs or you don't. You'll need good legs to be in the top ten overall but winning a stage is something else altogether."

Photo: Sirotti






25.05.2014 @ 14:08 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Pierre Rolland has been the most attacking rider in the 2014 Giro d’Italia and has looked to take back time on his rivals whenever the road has gone uphill.


"It's simple. I did Tirreno-Adriatico and I liked it a lot, so I took a look at the parcours of the Giro and I said to myself, ‘that's the race for me,'" Rolland told Cyclingnews in Agliè at the start of stage 14, when asked about his decision to make his Giro debut this year. "There are 10 summit finishes with an uphill time trial and another tough time trial, and, besides, I didn't just want to be a rider who only does the Tour de France every year."


His attempt last weekend failed as he gained no time and was pipped to the stage by Diego Ulissi, but yesterday he leapt away again with 50km to go and was joined by Ryder Hesjedal, and the two gained 40 seconds on Maglia Rosa Rigoberto Uran and a but less time on Quintana, Pozzovivo and Majka, Aru and Kelderman.


"I had really good legs, and I decided that I'd try something a bit crazy again, but luck was on my side," Rolland said at the summit, after changing into a long-sleeve jersey and a skull cap for the ride back down the climb to his team bus.


"I gained a bit of time today. I had the luck to have a teammate in the break in front [Perrig Quemeneur] and Bjorn Thurau did great work for me too. It's not often you get close to winning a WorldTour race, so it's a pity the break had so much time, but now, like everyone else, I'll look to defend myself."


Rolland is now ninth, 5:07 down on Uran, but as he pointed out, he has been better than Uran in the mountains but the time trials have cost him, losing 1:48 in the TTT and 3:46 on the stage 12 TT. But he has 5 summit finishes in the last week to make up that time.


"I find it hard to just sit around and wait, I like to go on the attack and I like it when the race breaks up. That's my way of riding," was Rolland's tactical stance in Agliè on Saturday morning, but his current overall position - and its consequent haul of WorldTour points - may yet curb the Frenchman's instincts.


"I'm going to see what happens," Rolland said at the finish in Oropa. "We're coming into the stages where you can't hide, you either have the legs or you don't. You'll need good legs to be in the top ten overall but winning a stage is something else altogether."


Rolland has admitted that he is not aware of how difficult the final climbs of the Giro are having never ridden them before. His first task is to conquer today’s stage to Montecampione, where he needs to decide between wining the stage or keeping or improving his GC position.


"I'm sort of caught between two stools right now," Rolland said. "I came to the Giro to see how it goes, and right now it's going pretty well."




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