By Bjorn Haake in Wevelgem, Belgium
Dominique Rollin was part of a very strong Cervélo TestTeam at Gent-Wevelgem Wednesday in Belgium. The break of the day formed early, with seven of the eight Cervélo riders in it. Once the main escape of 33 men split on the ascent of the Kemmelberg, the Cervélo riders worked hard to control the distance between the two groups. Rollin was the only team rider who made the front group.
"As soon as we hit the hills we paid for our efforts early on. From the start we knew we had to be up front and I just sat in. The guys brought it back, but it cost us on the final climb." Dominique Rollin told Cyclingnews.
Cervélo's Andreas Klier formed part of a three-man move with Mathew Hayman (Rabobank) and Matthew Goss (Saxo Bank) after the second ascent of Kemmelberg. They chased the lead escape (and winning) duo of Edvald Boasson Hagen (Columbia-Highroad) and Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas).
"The team is really happy with the way it's been going. Unfortunately, we came just shy of wins lately with Heinrich [Haussler]. But it's not over and I think Sunday [in Paris-Roubaix] we will still be up there."
The Canadian joined Cervélo TestTeam from Toyota-United during the off-season. He has been professional for three years, but this is his first time racing in so many ProTour-level races. "I did more endurance and longer rides. The races here are longer, 200 kilometres are standard, compared to the North American races, where 100-120 kilometres is the norm."
Rollin's experienced many more differences coming over to Europe, the heartland of cycling. He was used to racing shorter, timed criteriums in the USA.
"You tend to ease-up mid-season, but here, with the stage races, you have to keep going. The crowds are unbelievable here. I don't usually see so many people during road races. Also the roads are smaller and it's more technical, with 200 guys fighting for position."
He said his close contact 'crit' experiences supplied the know-how to handle tight situations on the roads of Europe. He will use the experiences in Paris-Roubaix, which has nearly 55 kilometres of cobbled roads.