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MUSCAT, Oman (VN) — Canada’s Dominique Rollin returned to action again last week in the Tour of Qatar after sitting out 2014 without a contract. Thanks to Nacer Bouhanni’s request, he will help Cofidis’s red train this year in the sprints.
“Nacer wanted people he could trust around him, that brought about the idea of having me back because we had a good thing going on in 2013, winning some good races at the WorldTour and French level,” Rollin told VeloNews.
“It’s a good opportunity to come back. It gives me a goal, a purpose to be at the races and have a job, a focus. It brings me motivation.”
Rollin raced with Cervélo TestTeam and with FDJ, but found himself in the market crunch at the end of 2013. He last saw action when he pushed off from Tiananmen Square for the final stage of the 2013 Tour of Beijing. That year, four big teams closed their doors and about 70 cyclists were left looking for contracts. Rollin did not get one.
Thanks to the bond that he built with Bouhanni and to the success of the French sprinter in 2014, Rollin found his place for 2015. Over the winter, Bouhanni left FDJ and joined Cofidis. The Professional Continental team, led by manager Yvon Sanquer, wanted to build a team around Bouhanni and rang Rollin.
“I didn’t even race in 2014. I did two granfondos, the 200-kilometer Eroica on an old bike from the ’80s and in a wool jersey, and I did the Xavier Tondo around Girona,” Rollin said.
“I had side work with Garmin, a VIP thing in the Tour de France. It was a great opportunity to see the other side of the sport. I discovered the Tour but on the sidelines of the race. Working, but enjoying it.”
Sanquer called Rollin in May. They began talking and soon agreed on a contract.
“I began training again and didn’t lose much fitness. We signed during the Tour de France and announced it later.
“I got in touch with the coach right away, I was exchanging data with the sports directors and team coaches. They saw me progress and saw that I was doing the right thing. They weren’t afraid that I had a year out of racing. They knew I was on the mark, even if I’ll be missing a little bit of my high speed. We’ll fine-tune the lead-out.”
Rollin spoke under Qatar’s hot sun. During the week, he worked with Bouhanni, who was out of his league in the strong winds across the oil-rich peninsula. This week, they will start their second race in the Tour of Oman.
“We have a group of guys that will race through the entire year, we know one another, we can trust one another, and that will help communication and vision in the peloton for changes in rhythm and last minute changes in plan,” Rollin said.
“The Milano-Sanremo and the Tour de France are the main goals. We already scouted the final of Sanremo in January. The Tour is the other goal on the list.
“First, we need to dial in the train. It’s up to Nacer Bouhanni, if things go well, I’ll go where he goes.”