Pierre Rolland's first Tour de France appearance for Cannondale-Drapac after five years with Team Europcar has been punctuated by crashes with the Frenchman suffering a spectacular fall on stage 19 that left him covered in blood and mud. Rolland and Rui Costa (Lampre Merida) had clipped off the front of the breakaway on the Montee de Bisanne descent, looking to challenge for the victory at Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc only for disaster to strike with Rolland losing his bike from underneath him on a wet left-hand corner.
"I was beginning to find new life on this Tour after my crash on the Tourmalet and then with the wet roads I slid in a curve and I didn't have the time to brake," Rolland said. "Both wheels went sliding. It took me a while to stand up because I was stunned. Afterwards, I got back to my senses."
Rolland was helped to his feet by road-side fans with no serious injuries but with his hopes for a third career Tour stage win all but evaporated. He eventually crossed the line in 32nd place, 7:54 minutes down on Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale). The result left Rolland in 16th place overall but he has no aspirations for the overall, explaining post-stage that "Now the goal is to go all the way to Paris."
"Cycling's like that. All we can do is keep pedaling," he added of the crash.
The Tour de France reaches Paris on Sunday but not before the final mountain stage to Morzine on Saturday. The peloton will take on four major ascents before the descent into Morzine. Realistically it's the last opportunity for a number of teams, including Cannondale Drapac, to take something from this year's race.Several Cannondale Drapac riders, including Ramunas Navardauskas and Alex Howes have gone on the attack in this year's race.