Rolland and Schleck set sights on chasing stages after slow time trials
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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Rolland and Schleck set sights on chasing stages after slow time trials

by VeloNation Press at 10:05 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Mountain specialists rebuilding morale after difficult struggles against the clock

Pierre RollandPierre Rolland and Andy Schleck reinforced the perception of them as pure climbers yesterday when each lost bundles of time to the general classification riders in the Tour. Both riders, who are similar in style on the bike, struggled on the flat, windy course, and were less than thirty seconds apart.

Rolland lost four minutes sixteen seconds to Tony Martin (Omega Pharma Quick Step), placing 91st, while Schleck was 28 seconds slower in 123rd place. It was clearly not a result that either anticipated nor enjoyed.

“This is a result that reflects my ability to ride fast on the flat,” said a disappointed Rolland afterwards. “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: Tony Martin 54km/h, I was still on the bus [before the start of his TT – ed.]. And once on the bike, when I reached this speed it was my maximum while it is his average!”

Schleck suggested before the time trial that he felt his form was on the rise, but there is no way to view his performance as anything other than a let down for him. He’s never been comfortable against the clock, but to finish 123rd is far off what he would have hoped for.

“This wasn’t good at all…actually really bad. I didn’t feel comfortable on the bike and I never found my rhythm,” said Schleck. “Normally I don’t lose this much time but now it’s done and I cannot change it. I don’t know what the problem was. Normally I can push with more power but today I was always fighting with my bike.

Schleck crashed heavily in the time trial in last year’s Critérium du Dauphiné and said that there was a possibility that it was playing on his mind.

Team director Kim Andersen also believes this was the case. “There was a lot of wind and I think that got into Andy’s head a little bit, remembering the crash in the Dauphine with the cross winds. Also we had not trained so much on the TT bike.

“It was more important for Andy to get in shape and now he has the form. We knew he would lose three- or three-and-a-half minutes. It’s more now, but this doesn’t change how we will tackle the rest of the Tour.”

Earlier this week Schleck played down thoughts of a high overall finish, but didn’t rule it out altogether. That now seems less and less likely. He’s reaffirmed what he previously said was his big goal. “Now I would like to have a stage win. There are only eleven stages left [actually ten – ed.] before Paris.”

As for Rolland, he too is looking to do something in the mountains. He has the polka dot jersey and will aim to hold onto that; in addition to that, he wants to see himself or another Europcar rider hit the line first.

“The third week ahead and the stages that I like are now on my mind,” he said. “This 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...”

His squad is yet to learn if Europcar will continue backing the squad past the end of this season, or if another sponsor will step in.
 

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