Speaking in advance of the first races by the Cannondale Pro Cycling riders, team coach Sebastian Weber has said that new signing Pierre Rolland has shown major improvements after coming on board.
Weber is the long-time coach of Tony Martin but has been working with the Cannondale setup for the past couple of seasons.
He is particularly passionate about the time trial discipline and has been able to use his experience to help Rolland and others find better TT positions.
“In terms of aerodynamics and time trialing, I am very excited about what we did with Pierre Rolland for the time trials,” he told CyclingTips. “If you see a picture of him [on the TT bike – ed.], I think you wouldn’t guess it is Pierre Rolland.”
Rolland is best known as a climber and has taken two mountain stages in the Tour de France, including Alpe d’Huez, as well as 10th, eighth and 10th overall in 2011, 2012 and 2015, respectively.
Time trialling has been a weak point for Rolland, but Weber’s comments suggest this might change. He said he is impressed by his willingness to improve in this area.
“I didn’t know Pierre at all, not in the slightest, before he joined the team. Sometimes with the climbers it is difficult,” he said.
“I come from a very technical approach, I did a lot of TT stuff. Then you go to the climbers and sometimes it is difficult to convince them that TT is important for them.
“I remember when I was working with Joaquim Rodriguez and in the beginning it was really difficult to set his mind to a TT as he was so concentrated on his climbing.”
Weber, though, said it’s different working with Cannondale’s new signing.
“With Pierre, I was very surprised and very happy… When you say to him, ‘okay, let’s do something for your TT,’ he was immediately very into it,” he said.
“That was something that obviously makes it easier, faster. It is something that was very exciting about him, that he was so open to work on his TT.”
“A lot of exciting things going on”
Asked about other riders on the team, Weber was cautious not to say too much. “I could give you some names, which I don’t give you because I don’t want to put any pressure on them,” he explained.
“There are also some guys who have been on the team before, who are not new, and I am very excited about their improvements. There is one rider in particular, although I don’t want to put him under pressure as this could be detrimental to him.”
That said, Weber did name names in some cases.
“There are a lot of exciting things going on. I am very excited about having Toms Skujins and Ryan Mullen on the team as young riders. I am very excited about Joe Dombrowski, how things are going with him for this season.
“Dylan Van Baarle has perhaps the next step up in him. There are a lot of young guys too, obviously. Davide Formolo is there. It is interesting to see what he can do next year. There are a lot of interesting guys here…”