FOIX, France (VN) — One just doesn’t break The Rules.
A breach of the unwritten, hallowed rules of cycling has earned Pierre Rolland scorn from the second that he attacked a field reeling from punctures caused by tacks thrown into the road.
Rolland said he was sorry for attacking on the descent of the Péguère, claiming he didn’t know what had transpired behind him.
“I am tired of other people thinking that I tried to take back time with a cowardly attack,” the Frenchman said after the stage. “I am sorry for those who have them mechanical problems and had to chase me.”
The maillot jaune, however, isn’t so sure about all of that.
It’s clear that Rolland, who has won a stage at this Tour already and sits in ninth overall, stood to benefit from taking time wherever he could. He did eventually sit up, after being called off by his team.
After the flurry of punctures, yellow jersey Bradley Wiggins called for the group of general classification contenders — including Rolland — to slow down. It was then that the Europcar rider drifted off the front.
“The race started up again without us. Rolland? I don’t think Rolland was very sportif in that effort,” the Sky captain said in the post-race press conference. He also called the Frenchman’s move “uncouth.”
Wiggins said that only Rolland would know the truth, but that the yellow-jersey group had caught him once, and he attacked again. Cadel Evans, meanwhile, was chasing back frantically with his BMC train, his Tour de France on the rails.
“It’s difficult. But I knew straight away that something had happened and I am sure everyone else did,” Wiggins said. “It didn’t seem the honorable thing to do, really, to benefit from other peoples’ misfortune at part of a race which was over.”
The breakaway was more than 15 minutes ahead at the time.
Jim Ochowicz, BMC’s manager, said he would have “nothing” to say to Rolland on the subject.
“He has to live with that,” Ochowicz said.