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Pierre Rolland (Europcar)
Europcar leader says taking the polka-dot jersey was team's goal in stage 2
Pierre Rolland said he will be a very proud man when he lines up at the start of stage 3 wearing the red polka-dot jersey as the best climber of the Tour de France. However, the Europcar climber said the jersey was not yet a long-term goal, and he still intends to focus on the general classification while he remains in contention for it.
"We knew before the stage that points were up for grabs in the King of the Mountains competition. We had David Veilleux going for them in the first escape. When we were one kilometre from the top of the final climb, they told me on the radio that if I could get over the climb first, I would have a good chance of taking the polka-dot jersey, so I didn't hesitate and I went hard to get the points," said the Frenchman.
Asked if he was focusing on challenging for the yellow or the polka-dot jersey, Rolland said, "I'm going to try to get through the final stage in Corsica without any difficulty and then we'll see how things look after that. But even if my hold on this jersey is temporary, the Tour's King of the Mountains jersey is really something special. I'll be very proud wearing it tomorrow."
He acknowledged that Europcar are determined to be on the front foot as much as possible. "The team is trying to be aggressive, trying to make things happen. We've had two riders on the Tour podium already and that's a good base to work from in the Tour," he said.
Rolland also confessed he had struggled a bit in the heat on stage 2 in what was a very intense day of racing. "It was a hard day. These short stages are very tough, much more so than some of the longer ones, because the pace is so high throughout," said the Frenchman.