Rolland still waiting on possible Tour de France invite

Pierre Rolland will start his first stage race of the season at the Etoile de Bessèges on Thursday without knowing whether he’ll be riding this year’s Tour de France.

And while at the end of last season the Frenchman hoped he and his new Vital Concept-B&B Hotels team would be given time to prove themselves at the start of this season, Tour boss Christian Prudhomme hasn’t given a precise date for the last two wild-card announcements – although it’s likely to be in March following the conclusion of Paris-Nice, where Rolland will be expected to shine.

“It’s a new situation for me not knowing if I’ll race the Tour de France this year,” Rolland said in an interview with L’Equipe on Wednesday. “I’ve raced there for the past 10 years, and have always finished it. It’s very important to me.”


The 32-year-old joined Pro Continental outfit Vital Concept-B&B Hotels for the 2019 season after four years at Jonathan Vaughters’ Cannondale/EF Education First squad, where, other than the high of a stage win at the 2017 Giro d’Italia, Rolland didn’t particularly shine.

His big takeaway from the team – other than that Giro stage win – is a vast improvement in his time-trialling ability, describing his improvement as having gone from “bad to average” after considerable testing on the track and time in wind tunnels.

Now back at the heart of a French team, Rolland is looking forward to revisiting the early-season French races he always did with former team Europcar, who he rode for from 2011-2015.

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