Dominque Rollin is fast becoming somewhat of an expert in racing in poor conditions and he put those skills to the test in a storm affected edition of Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne on Sunday.
The race was won by surprise package Bobbie Traksel who broke clear early on in the race and won a sprint battle between his two breakaway companions, Rick Flens (Rabobank) and Ian Stannard (Sky).
Behind the three leaders Rollin’s Cervelo TestTeam was the most aggressive team. First they sent Thor Hushovd and Jeremy Hunt up the road and in pursuit of Traksel’s group before Rollin launched his attack over the remnants on the peloton, trying to bridge across to his two teammates and Hayden Roulston (HTC-Columbia).
However the chase proved futile. First Hunt suffered a hunger knock before Hushovd, realising the race was lost, sat up and allowed Roulston to continue alone. Rollin eventually caught the Norwegian and secured fifth place on the line to record his best results of the season.
"It was a crazy day on the bike," he said at the finish.
"The wind just got stronger and stronger and it got colder and colder. It reminded me of a couple of other big days I had on the bike and I did have the legs today. It was a great ride by the guys, we had four guys up there but I think the weather got the better of most of us unfortunately. The performance was there and I'm looking forward to Paris-Nice to sharpen everything for the rest of the classics."
Unlike many of the riders who lined up for the race Rollin came into the event knowing that the harder conditions would suit his style of racing. He famously won a stage of the Tour of California in 2008 during brutal conditions that saw over twenty riders either fail to start or abandon the race.
This year Rollin will aim to claim his first win on European soil and build on his consistent results in the Classics.