Pierre Rolland (Europcar) has signed a contract with the American outfit Cannondale-Garmin for 2016.
"I am very honored by the trust placed in me by Cannondale-Garmin and am determined to ride well for them," said Rolland. "This is truly a great opportunity for me, and I am very excited for 2016," Rolland said in a press release.
The move ends the 28-year-old’s long association with the Europcar team – formerly Bbox Bouygues Telecom – where he has ridden since 2009. Rolland’s move comes after confirmation that Daniel Martin and Ryder Hesjedal are both set to leave Cannondale-Garmin at the end of the season.
Rolland finished 10th in this year’s Tour de France and won the Vuelta a Castilla y León earlier this Spring. He is a seasoned Grand Tour specialist having finished fourth in last year’s Giro d’Italia and 11th in the Tour during the same season. His best result in the Tour came in 2012, when he was eighth overall and won the stage to La Toussuire. In 2011 he won an epic stage to Alpe d'Huez at the Tour, finished 11th overall and claimed the white jersey as the best young rider.
Rolland has been keen to secure his future after Europcar confirmed earlier this season that they would be leaving the sport at the end of the year. Europcar team manager, Jean-René Bernaudeau, has told the media that he has secured a new sponsor for next year but Rolland has moved to Cannondale-Garmin on a multiple-year deal.
Cannonade-Garmin have already announced that Wouter Wippert (Drapac), Patrick Bevin (Avanti), Ryan Mullen (An Post-Chainreaction), and Michael Woods (Optum) will all be joining the team for next season. The American squad are set to announce at least two more riders over the coming weeks.
"Pierre is a rider that shows determination, style and panache year after year," said team manager Jonathan Vaughters.
"He rides in the old school style of one of my favourite riders of all time [Thierry Claveyrolat] – big gear, head up and always attacking. That style is something I respect and admire about Pierre. I believe that for all of his talent, he still has untapped potential. We hope to bring some work in aerodynamics and a bit of fresh air to help him maximize that potential, while retaining that panache and style that make him the great rider he is.
"He is a rider who I believe can one day win the Polka Dot jersey and an exciting addition to our 2016 line-up."
Looking ahead to the 2016 roster as a whole, Vaughters added: "We have an exceptionally talented roster of young riders; what we need to continue to build is leadership for these young guys by giving them experienced riders that they can learn from to better harness their own talents - and Rolland brings that in spades."