PEZ: How was Romandie, Dominique?
Dominique: The race was hard; I came to it tired, I was putting fatigue on top of fatigue. I have a three-and-a-half week break now, though – time to recover.
PEZ: Give us a little background, please.
Dominique: I’ve ridden the bike since I was 11 years-old. I rode with VC Roubaix in France for three years, under Cyrille Guimard, until 2006.
Rollin is no stranger to European racing. He raced with the Canadian National Team as well as VC Roubaix.
PEZ: Then you were pro in the US?
Dominique: I rode with Kodak in ’07, it was a small team, but with a good structure. It’s hard to get a good programme in the states, but I managed nine wins that year, including three stages at the Ras in Ireland.
Solo en route to his big win in California.
PEZ: And last year was Toyota?
Dominique: Yes, I had 14 wins; the high light was winning stage four of the Tour of California; that was an epic day on the road – wind, rain. And to finish in front of guys like Hincapie, that was special.
Rollin’s win was nothing short of spectacular.
PEZ: How did the ride at Cervelo come about?
Dominique: The result in California helped put my name on the map, I had a good season and there’s a natural tie-in with a Canadian main sponsor.
It’s almost too perfect – the arrow pointing to Europe as Rollin crosses the line solo at the Tour of California.
PEZ: Biggest differences between US and Euro racing?
Dominique: The distance, the style of racing – it’s more organised and there’s more depth to the field. In Belgium you have that situation where you go from highway to tiny road – you have to adjust to fighting for position. The racing is intense, you have criterium racing levels of concentration – but for six hours. A couple of seconds lapse and you’ve dropped 50 places in the bunch.
Intense racing sometimes leads to tumbles. Rollin gets up after going down at Gent-Wevelgem earlier this year.
PEZ: You’re a big guy, how’s the climbing?
Dominique: I get over them pretty good for my size; I surprise a lot of people with my climbing. I was actually King of the Mountains in the Tour of Missouri. And I stayed with the field in the Amstel – that’s not flat! I have to get used to the longer climbs; it helps that I stay in Switzerland, where the team is based. I chose here so I could integrate quickly, near to the team and with good communications.
Rollin will never be a climber, but he gets up most hills and mountains just fine.
PEZ: What’s your favourite type of race?
Dominique: The harder the better! I don’t love bad conditions, but I know that I do well in them and it gives me an advantage. I felt at home in Gent – Wevelgem and my stage win in California was on a wild day – there were guys getting blown off that day. When it’s like that, I’m one of the few guys on the start line who has a smile.
The sprint at the Scheldeprijs – bodies flying everywhere, Rollin riding to the podium.
PEZ: That was a strong result in the Scheldeprijs.
Dominique: It was a messy finish, with around 30 K to go, we lost Heinrich Haussler in a crash – we were working for him. I looked round and thought, “who’s left?” I only had two team mates to help me. We did a good job to re-organise and bounce back. My sprint wasn’t perfect. I went early, but there was a crash in the finale; I might have got caught up in that if I hadn’t gone when I did. It was good to be standing on the podium, beside Petacchi – I’d moved up a level from Tirreno.
I’d settle for one win this season.
On the podium with Ale-Jet and Kenny Van Hummel.
PEZ: Are you jealous of the guys with finish trains?
Dominique: Yeah, but I have to prove myself, first. Part of my job is to lead Thor out – I learn a lot whilst doing my work; watching Thor’s reactions, his placing. We have similar builds; I’m happy to work for him and the team. I enjoy seeing my team mates’ success – it’s a team sport. One guys gets to stand on the podium but there are six or seven guys doing a job to get him there.
PEZ: Your biggest goal?
Dominique: If I dream, I see myself as a Classics rider; I want to become one and I dream of winning one.
I want to become a better sprinter; I’ve given myself two years to adjust.
Rollin has found his way to the podium a number of times already this year.
PEZ: How’s the Cervelo gig?
Dominique: So far, everyone has been having a great time; we’re racing as a unit and getting results. Almost every guy in the squad has stood on the podium, this year.
It shouldn’t be too long before he’s standing on the top step.
PEZ: Rebellin? Schumacher?
Dominique: They’ve done what they’ve done – there’s always someone who will cheat. Luckily, cycling has decided to do something about it; hopefully, it can be sorted out. The sport is saying; “enough is enough, we don’t want it!”
Let’s hope so, Dominique – with thanks to the man with the great French Canadian accent; we think we’ll be talking to him again, before too long.