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Rolland's wrist fracture means Frenchman will miss Paris-Nice

After he crashed at French one-day race the Drôme Classic at the weekend, Pierre Rolland's Vital Concept-B&B Hotels team have announced that their leader has fractured his left wrist.

Although the injury is, Rolland said, "not as bad as I'd first feared", it could have repercussions in that the 32-year-old will now miss Paris-Nice (March 10-17) – after which the Tour de France organisers are expected to announce the last two 'wildcard' places for this year's Tour.

Vital Concept are one of the three teams most likely to be handed a berth, alongside fellow French Pro Continental teams Arkea-Samsic and Direct Energie, with two of the four wildcard places already allocated to Wanty-Groupe Gobert and Cofidis in January.

"Paris-Nice is an important race, and to go well there, you have to have raced enough beforehand," Rolland had said in early February, aware that the eight-day stage race would be key to Vital Concept's chances of making it to the Tour.

Now he'll have to hope that a combination of his teammates stepping up to the plate and his own past and reputation as a two-time Tour stage winner will be enough to sway the organisers.

"I'll be my teammates' number-one fan during Paris-Nice, and am certain that they'll be able to show what we're capable of, having put in so much hard work since the off-season," Rolland said in a press release.

Rolland won a stage and was the best young rider at the 2011 Tour de France, and then won another stage and finished eighth overall the following year. He's now chasing an 11th-straight start at the Tour, having joined Vital Concept this season following four years with Jonathan Vaughters' Cannondale/EF Education First team.

"The diagnosis is not as bad as I'd first feared," Rolland said on the news of his wrist. "For the next few days, I'm going to be able to keep training by adapting my position on the home trainer, without putting any weight on my wrist. The most important thing has been that the scaphoid hasn't been affected, as that's a bone that takes a lot longer to heal.

"I won't be away from racing for long, which is a good thing," Rolland continued. "Physically, I'd come through the Tour du Haut Var well, and had arrived at the Drôme Classic in good form. I would have had great form going into Paris-Nice, and was looking forward to racing at such a fantastic event.

"It's a shame that this injury has stopped me from going, but I have to remain positive about the fact that it's not going to keep me out of action for too long," he said.

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