Pierre Rolland: “I am respectful of the codes and internal rules of the peloton”
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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pierre Rolland: “I am respectful of the codes and internal rules of the peloton”

by Ben Atkins at 3:13 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Europcar climber explains his attack on the neutralised peloton as tacks disrupted stage 14

pierre rollandAs tacks thrown on the road threatened to ruin the Tour de France of a number of riders, including defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), race leader Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) called a halt to hostilities on the descent of the Mur de Péguère. The one rider that didn’t initially obey the Maillot Jaune’s truce however, was Europcar’s stage 11 winner Pierre Rolland.

The 26-year-old Frenchman, who currently sits ninth overall, launched a solo attack; he managed to take a two-minute lead before being pulled back by the teams of those riders whose positions he was beginning the threaten. He denied having deliberately tried to take advantage of his rival’s advantage however, claiming that he was not aware of what was going on.

"I attacked to try to gain positions in the general classification,” he explained. “I did it to try to rise into the top five and I hadn’t seen what was happening behind me. I asked for time differences from [directuer sportif] Dominique Arnold but he did not reply.

“I was not aware of anything,” he insisted. “A moto rider from France TV told me that I was 1’20” ahead, so I continued. I never knew anything. After the descent, I came to a part with a less favourable wind, and the peloton came back strongly with Liquigas[-Cannondale] and Lotto[-Belisol].”

Having been pulled back, with around 15km to go, Rolland was greeted by some scorn by a number of members of the peloton. At first he still didn’t know why but, as he looked around, the penny began to drop.

“When I got back in the peloton, Fränk Schleck came to me asking me why I had gone. I did not understand at first and then I realised that there weren’t many riders with the same two wheels. I am respectful of the codes and internal rules of the peloton. If someone attacks a puncture or a crash, I'd be the first to moan. Had I been aware of anything, I would have waited.

“Those who know me know that this is not my attitude. This was a silly incident but I think that, inside the peloton, everyone saw that I was in good faith. "

Arnold, who was following the peloton in Europcar’s second car [team manager Jean-René Bernadeau was up ahead, following Cyril Gautier in the breakaway - ed] confirmed after the stage that the steep narrow climb of the Mur de Péguère meant that he was too far back to communicate the situation to his rider as he attacked.

"His radio was not working because he was too far away from me." he said. “I knew Pierre was gone when I heard on Radio Tour that he was 52 seconds ahead of the yellow jersey group; I then spoke but he did not answer me.

“The controversy does not make sense,” he added. “Don’t blame Pierre, who attacked from the start of the descent, so he wasn’t aware of Evans’ puncture. I could speak to him when he returned to the peloton. Before that, the radio didn’t work.”

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