Dominique Rollin building for Classics season with FDJ-BigMat
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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dominique Rollin building for Classics season with FDJ-BigMat

by Kyle Moore at 7:15 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Canadian excited to race with strong French Classics squad

Dominique RollinAfter a decent showing in the Tour of Qatar, Dominique Rollin (FDJ-BigMat) heads next to the Tour of Oman, where he will look to continue to build fitness and camaraderie with what is an updated and more powerful team for the single day Classics.

The Canadian, who picked up several quality top twenty results in his first season with the French team in 2011, finished 57th overall in Qatar, but he helped set up team-mate Arnaud Démare on his run to victory on the final stage. A rider in the ProTour since 2009, Rollin is working toward another Classics season – the time of year that has become his specialty.

“In 2011, for the first time I had the opportunity to play my own cards after working for several seasons for Thor Hushovd and Heinrich Haussler [Rollin spent 2009 and 2010 with Cervelo Test Team – ed.],” Rollin remarked in an interview on his team’s website.

“I think I have learned well. I hope to have just a little more success than last year. I often experienced mechanical problems, with a broken rear wheel in Ghent-Wevelgem, and a derailleur in Paris-Roubaix, in the Arenburg sector.”

Disappointing finishes in Ghent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix aside, Rollin had a solid first season in 2011 for FDJ. He was sixteenth in Milan-Sanremo, tenth in Dwars door Vlaanderen, and fifteenth in the Tour of Flanders. He usually rode for himself on the opportunistic FDJ Classics squad, which features attackers such as Yoann Offredo and Steve Chainel.

As team leader Frederic Guesdon works his way back from a hip injury, Rollin mentioned the French veteran and his team’s aggressive nature, giving the impression that his squad could take some of the “super teams” by surprise this spring.

“We are strong,” he stated. “We may have lost a very important rider in Frederic Guesdon, who hopefully will return soon, but we are strengthened by hiring two warriors in David Boucher and Gabriel Rasch. We are a good group. Two or three of the big teams may be underestimating us a little, but we must take our opportunities and find the openings like Steve Chainel and Yoann Offredo did in Milan-Sanremo. I think we’ll make an impression.”

Rollin began his preparations for the spring in Qatar, as most Classics stars choose to do. After taking multiple top five finishes on stages last year, Rollin did not contest sprints in the 2012 edition. The Canadian had his best day of the week on stage four, when winds whipped the strongest and ripped the peloton to shreds.

Rollin chalked this up to a solid offseason training regimen in Girona, Spain, in spite of some sickness in the middle of autumn. He hopes that another season spent away from his home country will pay off with more success.

“I miss [Canada] terribly but it is a choice that my family and friends understand,” Rollin said, speaking about remaining in Europe through the winter. “The round trip by plane is too tiring. I’ll do that eventually. So I just stayed in Girona where working conditions are ideal. There are 40 or 50 professionals there so it is rare that I train alone.

“I am almost to the same point I was last year despite having suffered from pneumonia for three weeks in November. Fortunately the months of December and January were mild in Girona, and I could work out properly,” he said.

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