Dominique Rollin will kick start his Classics campaign tomorrow in Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, still looking for his first win since joining Cervélo TestTeam. The 27-year-old is no stranger to success however, wining an epic stage at the Tour of California in 2008 and finishing third in Scheldeprijs Vlaanderen in 2009, during his first season in the Classics.
Rollin spent the winter training in Girona, Spain, as so many other riders seem to do these days, and believes that his form and fitness are beyond where they were last year.
"I set myself up in Spain just to get ready for the season. I had a good start in Etoile de Bessèges and the fitness is there. I’m stronger than last year," he told Cyclingnews.
With the experience of a full European road season now under his belt Rollin has more confidence with dealing with the hardships of racing on the continent.
"Last year it was all about getting used to going from criteriums to racing 200 kilometres. The intensity is something different too and it takes time to get used to that. I’ve gained that experience and strength and I’ve slowly started to know more of the roads and where to place myself in the peloton."
Rollin can generate a staggering 1700 Watts – more than teammate Thor Hushovd (1600) – but in the last year he has lost some of that raw power as he’s focussed more in his endurance. Still, he feels his future lies within the Classics. "I see myself as a Classics rider; a strongman’s cyclist. When the weather turns to crap I’m there and when everyone gives up."
"As for this year, another podium in the Classics would be great, it was so unexpected last year and it really boosted my confidence but I’m still looking for my first win. That will be my main goal this year."
Rollin will line-up for Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne with teammates Heinrich Haussler, Roger Hammond, Jeremy Hunt, Andreas Klier, Bret Lancaster, Gabriel Rasch and Martin Reimer.