With fellow new signing Rigoberto Uran targeting overall victory at the Giro d'Italia, Pierre Rolland has outlined his path to the Tour de France in July where he will co-lead the team with Andrew Talansky. Rolland, a two-time stage winner at the Tour, has finished inside the top-ten at the French grand tour on three occasions and claimed the best young rider classification in 2011.
"My dream this year is for the best general classification at the Tour de France. I think the Cannondale team is very good for me for my evolution," Rolland said at the team launch last month. Rolland will take a slightly altered route to the Tour de France in his first season with the American team having moved across from Europcar.
The 29-year-old made his Cannondale debut at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, finishing 44th overall having been sick on the eve of the race. Currently on a team training camp, Rolland outlined his racing programme on his Facebook page.
"I'll be all right for Paris Nice, that I consider my first real competition," wrote Rolland. "Then I'll do the Critérium International in Corsica, the Basque Country [Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco] and Romandie. Then a little break of a few days before hitting the big block which will lead us to the Tour de France."
In 2015, Rolland had the longest season of his career yet with 95 race days, of which the highlight was claiming his first GC victory at the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon. Rolland's build up for the Tour saw him start several one-day races along with Etoile de Bessèges, Ruta del Sol, Tirreno-Adriatico, Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, Circuit Cycliste Sarthe - Pays de la Loire, Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, Tour de Romandie, and the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Rolland explained that his approach in 2016 is "less races" with greater periods of training and training camps than previous years. The change in approach will see him miss the Ardennes Classics for the first time since 2011.