Pierre Rolland was a very active member of the seven-man breakaway that took flight after eight kilometres of stage three but a flat tyre in the penultimate pavé section detracted from his initiative during the day. The classy Bbox Bouygues Telecom riders says there's more to come, however.
"I wanted to arrive on the cobblestones with a significant advantage to avoid the crashes", he told Cyclingnews after the finish. "To enter the breakaway was the plan this morning and it was successful but the flat tyre ruined my efforts and I'm disappointed about that.
"If we don't try, we have no chance to succeed, so at least I've tried. I was away with good buffalos, as we say. In the front group, only Stéphane Augé and myself were under 1.90 metres tall!"
Rolland is a key rider for the Bbox Bouygues Telecom team. Manager Jean-René Bernaudeau has predicted a top 10 overall for him at the Tour de France this year. Due to his flat tyre he finished stage three in the group of Tony Martin and Michael Rogers and lost 2.25 which means he's currently 75th on GC at 3:53.
He remains hopeful, however. "If I'm in a front group of the Tour de France, it means I'm in good shape", said Rolland. "Tomorrow is a shorter stage. I hope to recover well after riding flat out for 213 kilometres today."
Last year Rolland finished 22nd overall in his Tour de France debut and says that this year, "I have more experience and I'm more sure of myself. I'm at the maximum of my possibilities. My career plan is respected. I'm improving. I don't have the same experience of a Grand Tour as Thomas [Voeckler] or Pierrick [Fedrigo] but I've learnt a lot last year about dealing with three weeks of racing.
"I think there will be many opportunities to do something great in this Tour de France," he added. "I might go again for breakaways or try and get the polka jersey or something. I'll see day by day what I can do but I'm definitely motivated and ready for a good show."