Rolland and Sagan utilize different tactics in Mont-Saint-Michel time trial
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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Rolland and Sagan utilize different tactics in Mont-Saint-Michel time trial

by Kyle Moore at 2:11 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Polka dot jersey waiting until final week, green jersey grasping for every possible point

Pierre RollandThe leaders of the mountains classification and points competition took two different tactics into the stage 11 time trial in the Tour de France, and though neither added to their respective leads on Wednesday, both Pierre Rolland (Europcar) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) hold decent sized leads as the Tour begins its second half.

In the 33km individual time trial from Avranches to Mont-Saint-Michel, the road remained flat, giving Rolland the opportunity to conserve energy. The Frenchman has stated that his general classification ambitions are on hold for this Tour as he targets the polka jersey full time. So without a GC spot to hold onto, Rolland’s main concern was getting through the time trial in good condition, and showing off the clashing green Europcar helmet and red polka dotted skin suit.

Meanwhile, Sagan rode his time trial on a mission, hoping for a top 15 placing on the stage, which would guarantee the Slovak at least one point in the green jersey classification – points that no other sprinting contender would be scoring.

Their individual efforts showed in their results, as Rolland took 91st place, four minutes and 16 seconds behind stage winner Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step). Sagan again made his impressive all-around talents known, taking 17th, 2’18” off of Martin’s time. Frustratingly for the sprinter, his time was just three seconds away from the top 15, and spots occupied in the stage standings by Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Lars Bak (Lotto-Belisol).

On a TT course meant for the powerful specialists, Rolland was cognizant of his place. “This is a result that reflects my ability to ride fast on the flats,” Rolland rued to letour.fr, able to change out the word ‘ability’ with ‘inability.’

“This is not a course to my advantage, and I knew I was losing time. But I've put aside my goals for a good result in the overall rankings. When I saw the average speed of Tony Martin, 54 kilometres per hour, I was still on the bus. And once on the bike, when I reached this speed, it was my maximum, while it is his average!”

Rolland’s focus is already on the final week, when he will hope to do his part to get his team, and French cycling, a stage win.

“Now my mind is on the third week and the stages that I like,” Rolland added. “It is the last part of the Tour when I hope to shine. It is necessary that the team wins a stage with me or someone else.”

Conversely, in search of available points and a good result, Sagan went with a maximum effort in the scenic time trial. He had produced a similar effort in the uphill Flumserberg time trial at the finale of the Tour de Suisse, where he briefly held the best time before finishing 20th.

Sagan indicated that it wasn’t originally his goal to try and pick up points for the green jersey in the time trial, but his legs dictated that he should try. Echoing the words of Rolland earlier in the Tour, Sagan said that he would not later regret the effort.

“Seventeenth! It's not a good result because I missed out on scoring points by just three seconds!” Sagan scoffed. “Yet, until I was in the start house, I intended to stay quiet. As soon as I started, I felt that I had good legs, so I decided to go for it – and it gave me a chance to get points for the green jersey. It's a shame to miss the opportunity by as little as three seconds. That really is not much in a stage like this, but I focused to achieve a good time trial.

“I might have gotten a worse result under pressure. This stage at least allowed me to have confirmation that my condition continues to improve. Tomorrow, we will have a stage for the sprinters, where I want to win as many points as possible. I do not regret having spent energy in the TT. It does not stop me from trying to do something good [later].”

Rolland currently holds 49 mountain points to Chris Froome’s 33. In the green jersey ranking, Sagan has 269 points. André Greipel has 186.

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