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Pierre Rolland (Europcar) with the spoils of victory.
No more knee problems for Europcar climber
Pierre Rolland is back to racing after having overcome a knee injury that prevented him racing in Paris-Nice earlier this Spring. The best young rider of the 2011 Tour de France had to rest for a while to heal a lesion to cartilage in his patella when he banged his right knee against his stem during the Tour du Haut Var. The Frenchman returned to racing at the Circuit de la Sarthe last week, and continues his amended racing schedule at Paris-Camembert, a French Cup one-day event taking place on April 10.
"As regards my knee, the problem is definitely solved," Rolland told L'Equipe on the eve of the race. "I don't feel any pain anymore. That was my big satisfaction last week at Sarthe: in the evenings, after 200 kilometres, I felt no pain anymore."
After having begun his season on a high with a stage victory at Étoile de Bèsseges, the Europcar climber has to re-build his form. "I didn't push too hard during training in order not to trigger pain. Now, I'll be able to do some specific training sets on the rollers. I realised I lost quite a lot of power."
Moreover, Rolland was weakened by a viral infection caught from a teammate at the Circuit de la Sarthe. "I wanted to come back fast but it backlashed: I was vulnerable and I caught a virus. But my form is coming back solwly," he added.
With still three months to go until the start of this year's Tour de France, Rolland has plenty of time to catch up on his setback. This month, his racing schedule continues with the Giro del Trentino (April 17-20) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 22).