Rolland says sorry for Tour sportsmanship
French cyclist Pierre Rolland has apologised for his extremely unpopular attack during the dramatic stage 14 of the Tour de France.
After Cadel Evans and as many as 30 other riders suffered punctures due to tacks on the road, Tour leader Brad Wiggins called for the peloton not to attack on the descent from the Mur de Peguere.
But soon after Rolland, the stage 11 winner, decided to push the pace.
He went off alone, gaining up to two minutes, and only ended his downhill surge after the Lotto-Belisol and Liquigas-Cannondale teams chased him down.
Jim Ochowicz, the boss of Evans’ BMC team, sharply criticised Rolland for his move.
“I don’t think Rolland was very ‘sportif’ in that effort – the others respected the fact that it was not just us who were having problems,” Ochowicz said.
“When that happens, the race becomes neutral.
“You have to slow it down – there were people who crashed as a result.”
Rolland later said he only became aware of the large number of punctures once he was caught.
Several riders appeared to rebuke Rolland after his one-man attack ended.
“I attacked to try to gain positions in the general classification … I was not aware of anything,” said Rolland, who is ninth overall.
“I am respectful of the codes and internal rules of the peloton.
“If someone attacks a puncture or a crash, I’d be the first to moan.
“Had I been aware of anything, I would have waited.
“Those who know me know that this is not my attitude.”
Rolland’s Europcar team director said there was no radio communication with the rider at the time he attacked.
In a post on his website, Evans said he was unaware of what had happened ahead of him on the road as he dealt with his three flats.
“Reports tell me ‘Wiggo’ was the sporting one, some others not so sporting,” he said.
“On a day like that you learn a lot about your colleagues.”© AAP 2013
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