With no fewer than 96km of time trialling on the agenda at the 2012 Tour de France, Pierre Rolland (Europcar) has acknowledged that he will need to improve his prowess against the watch if he is to better his 11th place finish of last July.
“It’s complicated,” Rolland told L’Équipe. “I’ll have to work a lot for the time trial to lose the minimum amount of time there, because you won’t see me at [Cadel] Evans’ level.”
The Frenchman is due to begin testing his new time trial bike and position in the coming weeks. He acknowledged that it will be a lengthy process of trial and error as he gets to work on limiting his losses to the specialists in the discipline.
“[The bike] will be more aerodynamic than before, it’s made for riding fast,” he said. “I’m going to change my position, so there’s work to be done in the wind tunnel.”
An effervescent winner on l’Alpe d’Huez in 2011, Rolland is well aware that his greatest strength is his climbing. In spite of the progress he aims to make on the flat, Rolland is mindful that he must strike a balance with his time trial training.
“It will be my coach’s job to make sure that I improve myself in that area without losing my agility in the mountains,” Rolland said.
Rolland’s season will get underway in February, and he plans to reach “a first peak in form in April.” The major rendezvous of his year is in July, however, and all told, the white jersey winner “will try to have an even more professional approach in 2012.”