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Exclusive – Pierre Rolland puts an end to his career: “Don’t be sad for me”

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Exclusive – Pierre Rolland puts an end to his career: “Don’t be sad for me”
Written by madishthestylebar

A page turns for Pierre Rolland, certainly in a rush, but not so painful. The 36-year-old French climber has decided to end his career at the end of this 2022 season. The former Tour de France white jersey was supposed to run for at least another year, in 2023, with the team. B&B by Jérôme Pineau, for which he had been working since 2019. But the structure in question, for lack of sufficient funding, is on the verge of collapsing. Only the hope of a reconstruction from the third division survives. Rolland, he will move on and hang up the bike. Glad not to go away on a poor exercise, he explains to us that he “beautiful projects“, without revealing the content.

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Without a team next season, you have made a decision about your future…

Pierre Roland : Yes, I have decided to put an end to my career. I see people around me, some who barely know me, who are sad for me. I want to tell them “don’t be sad for me, because I’m not”. I am happy with these 16 years. Fate decided that and I’m not going against it. I have beautiful projects that animate me, I want them to start. If I didn’t know what I was going to do with my skin in three months… yes, I would be sad, I would feel empty. But this is not the case.

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You were close to a stage victory during the Tour of Croatia, two months ago… Does this still generate a little frustration, to turn the page while still feeling capable of aiming for success?

PR : On the contrary, I’m happy to end my career with a good level, rather than finishing at the back of the pack, dragging my misery. I still felt capable of doing one, two or even three years, physically. But they were “bonus” years, just like this 2022 season was in my eyes. Then finish with a Paris-Bourges, that’s good (he finished 57th in the race which started from Gien, where he is from, editor’s note).

Did you have other options? That of returning to TotalEnergies for example (he belonged to this team until 2015, when it was called Europcar, editor’s note)?

PR : There was no contact with TotalEnergies. Jean-Rene [Bernaudeau] (manager of the structure, editor’s note) has my number. If he had wanted to call me, he could have done so. I understand that it’s complicated to integrate a rider, the numbers and budgets are tight for many. I was still in contact with teams and it didn’t work out for different reasons.”

I preferred to advise recruiting this or that team rider (B&B), younger, rather than trying to fit in at all costs

Now that you have made your choice, can you tell us who these teams were?

PR : I do not want to reveal the identity of these formations, vis-à-vis their partners etc. I preferred to advise them to recruit this or that team rider (B&B), younger, rather than trying to fit me in at all costs. I have already had the opportunity to prove myself. And I did not see myself rediscovering a new structure.

Do any of your (ex-)teammates ask you for advice?

PR : Yes, it’s painful, a team that stops, the legal aspect etc., some people turn to me, ask me for advice to find a new formation.

Are you going to stay invested in Jérôme Pineau’s structure, if he manages to give it a second life in the amateur world?

PR : If the team starts again from the amateur level, I will not be a sports support. A project in Continental (3rd division) is an early career project to get started, a mid-career project to bounce back… but that’s not where I want to end my career. On the other hand, I will be a moral support.

Do you feel the need to cut with the bike? Or are you going to do long outings next year, or even compete in races with amateurs, individually?

PR : I continue to train for fun and I will continue to do so. Maybe we’ll see me on slightly longer formats, “ultra”, during the summer. I have projects in the world of cycling. I can’t say more yet.

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