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“For me, nothing will ever be the same since then. I liked the Giro. The Tour de France? It’s going to be difficult, but now I’m convinced that I can win a three-week event," Pierre Rolland said.

Photo: Sirotti

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GIRO D'ITALIA

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PIERRE ROLLAND

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ROMAIN SICARD

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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04.06.2014 @ 18:17 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Pierre Rolland was certainly a pleasure to watch in the recently concluded Giro d’Italia, as the Europcar leader emerged as one of the most aggressive riders in the mountains and surprised with a very serious approach to a rivalry in the Italian three-week event. Even though his high fourth spot in the general classification was partially thanks to the controversial move made on the descent of the Stelvio, a brilliant disposition of the 27-year old Frenchman couldn’t be questioned and now, with a significantly boosted self-confidence, he aims to conquer the Tour de France.

 

While Rolland’s amazing climbing skills were never questioned, in previous years he emerged more as a hunter of iconic stages, in likes of Alpe d’Huez in 2011, and wore the K.O.M. polka dotted head-to-toe outfit in a truly convincing fashion last year. Literally.

However, the Europcar leader approached this year’s Giro d’Italia with an ambitious yet reachable objective of making the top five in the general classification, and with or without time gained during the controversial 16th stage of the race, the final outcome convinced the 27-year old Frenchman about his capabilities of winning the grand tour event.

 

“I was targeting the top five from the beginning. I didn’t tell the team, however, because I wasn’t sure what to expect from myself in Belfast. That’s what I told them.”

 

Rolland also pointed out that, in fact, the stage finishing on Montecampione was a breakthrough performance which eventually switched his mindset from stage hunting to seriously targeting the general classification of the Giro.

 

“That day changed everything for me, because I realized that I was able to follow Quintana who is unmatchable [on ascents]. Last year he surpassed Froome on Alpe d’Huez and Semnoz, and in the Giro I was able to stay on his wheel on climbs which did not suit my characteristics, which filled me with confidence.”

 

“For me, nothing will ever be the same since then. I liked the Giro, it’s quieter and there’s less pressure [comparing to the Tour de France],” Rolland told L’Equipe.

 

The 27-year old Europcar leader was full of praise for his talented domestique Romain Sicard and even though he was reluctant to name his objectives ahead of the Tour de France, he once again emphasized that the Italian grand tour filled him with confidence about his capabilities of winning one of the three-week event in the future.

 

“The Tour? It’s going to be difficult, but now I’m convinced that I can win a grand tour.”

 

“I should have started with a Giro-Vuelta doube before approaching the Tour, that’s what every young rider should do first. I rode Tour de France five times instead and this year I was told to try something different, eventually.”

 

“My place is at grand tours. This year I have two big objectives [Giro d’Italia and Tour de France]. So there’s no time to relax.”

 

“Time trialing is my weakness, but it’s not the only issue. I think we have to work more on the equipment with Colnago. It’s of utmost importance these days and I spoke about it with Eusebio Unzue [Movistar Team manager], who is equally convinced about such necessity. These are the areas where I can still gain time while at the age of 27 I have already reached a peak of my physical capabilities.”

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