By Kirsten Robbins in Sacramento, California
The Cervélo TestTeam gave Dominique Rollin his dream come true ticket to compete in a full schedule at the Spring Classics. Rollin credits his ProTour contract to his notorious solo victory during stage four of the previous year's Tour of California held under treacherous weather conditions.
"This is a dream come true," Rollin said, who is not looking forward to racing in the predicted foul weather this week. "It's a big jump from last year where we [Toyota-United] did the Tour of California and then waited around for Redlands Classic. Now, I'll continue with my fitness and leave the USA to do the big races."
Rollin's Spring Classics season will start in Milan-Sanremo and continue on to the Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem, Paris-Roubaix and Amstel Gold among others. He will not compete in La Flèche Wallonne or Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
"The team put me in for the flatter Classic events," Rollin said. "At first the team didn't know what to expect from me. They didn't know if I was a sprinter or a time trialist. They started watching my events and reviewed what I had done in California last year. They felt that one day races fit me and my sprint is a good fit for leading out Thor [Hushovd]."
Rollin noted that the team will not give him free-reign to make solo moves in this year's Tour of California or defend the Best Sprinter's competition. "I think we have a great contender in Thor," Rollin said about his teammate and the 2005 Tour de France green jersey winner. "I'll be working for him. He is a proven sprinter. We get along well and I think I can learn a lot from him by working for him. It's great to see, even as a sprinter, that you can learn by helping the best in the world."
Rollin will be based in Luzern, Switzerland for the 2009 season. "I'll still be working with my coach Brian Walton," he said. "I saw my new place in Europe and it is really comfortable. It has a lot of great training."