Dominique Rollin Talks to Zipp
Battling unrelenting rain and headwinds for almost 7 hours, Dominique Rollin won stage 4 of the 2008 Tour of California by simply riding away from George Hincapie, America’s top Classics rider, and Iker Camaño, another ProTour veteran. Following that display of raw power, a jump from the US circuit to the ProTour was inevitable and Dominique signed with Zipp sponsored Cervélo Test Team for 2009. Starting strongly his first European pro season, the 26-year-old French Canadian has shown why so many experts have labeled him a top prospect for the Spring Classics.
You had a number of offers from major teams for this season. Why did you choose Cervélo TestTeam? Was it important to go with a Canadian sponsor?
Dominique Rollin: I’m quite proud to be involved with such an innovating brand, and as a proud Canadian it is more than an honor to be riding and working with a Canadian world leading brand. I did have a few options coming towards the end of last year season and I saw a great opportunity in Cervélo. On top of being able to work and learn from well respected and famous riders like Carlos and Thor, I saw a new idea emerging from the team which was putting the Pro meaning a bit further. As far as racing goes, with a young team of new upcoming talent to surround well experienced riders, it was a heavy bet to take and the way we have been bounding together made it happen surprisingly fast. But the cohesion happens easily because of a shared idea of team spirit and mutual help and involvement. Not only are the riders and staff are part of the team but so is every single person including sponsors. Everyone helps each other to improve and get better and it’s that fellowship that helps create a strong core that we’ve seen since our first race in Qatar.
You spent three seasons in France with the VC Roubaix amateur team, and then went back to North America for two years. How did that affect your progression relative to the guys you raced against when you were with VC Roubaix?
Dominique Rollin: (actually it’s 3 seasons in France but only one at VC Roubaix) Coming from a European Amateur background helped me expressing myself the first year I was in the US, no one knew me. I could get away in a break and win the sprint. But it didn’t take long to be known and spotted. My height doesn’t help. The good thing is that my two years on the North-American circuit serves me the same way in Europe. Being unknow from the Euros will probably help me in the first years, but don’t say it to loud. I’d like to surprise them at least once in a while.
At 6’2”, 180 pounds, you’re bigger and stronger than almost anyone else in the peloton. How does that affect what wheels you choose to ride?
Dominique Rollin: This has never been a fun challenged for me; we are in most of the occasions bounded to a sponsor and have to use their products. In many occasions it turned out to be to my disadvantage. Luckily this year we are in a great position where we get the cool stuff prior to everyone else and get to try the harder/stronger/stiffer/faster equipment, wheels being one of those. The great thing, I must say, is if the wheel resists me, no customer would ever have trouble with their set.
Canadian riders have a reputation for being independent and self-sufficient. Do you see yourself that way? How does that help you?
Dominique Rollin: I do need time on my own and my little space to keep the focus while on races but I don’t think we are selfish. We just need room to relax and change our mind from a hard demanding job which pushes us to break boundaries with all we know and love. A new home, country, races, team and infrastructure. The only thing that allows me to take a break from all these adaptations is a bit of time on my own and get lost in my little habits, or should I say daily pleasures.
A lot of people think you have the power and tactical instincts to win Paris-Roubaix some day. What do you need to accomplish before you’re ready to win a race like that?
Dominique Rollin: Learn those races, ride and ride some more on the parcours. It’s such a different style of racing of what I’m used to that I need time to adapt to the speed, the intensity, the nervousity and technicality of those races. This year first presence was an amazing learning field and being thrown out there was the best way to get to tame those northern races. I give myself a few more years to evolve to an actual classic riders, until then I’ll be glad to help team mates who are the Belgium artists like Heinrich, Thor, Andreas.