For Pierre Rolland, this could possibly be the top of the highway, with the two-time Tour de France stage winner contemplating retirement after the collapse of the B&B Resorts-KTM staff. However the Frenchman holds no grudges and has spoken out in sympathy for embattled staff boss Jérôme Pineau.
Rolland is one in every of 20 riders on the second-division French staff who had a contract for 2023 however have now been left within the lurch with three weeks to go till the beginning of the brand new season.
He had already begun to ponder the top of his profession this season, finally signing a one-year extension with B&B Resorts, a deal that’s not legitimate.
He has already been linked with a return to his former staff, TotalEnergies, however revealed on Thursday that he may dangle up his wheels altogether.
“I’ve had some contacts, and I possibly have the likelihood to proceed. However I even have the likelihood to cease,” Rolland advised the OuestFrance newspaper, including that “a profession change” is one thing he is already began planning.
“Actually, it’s nonetheless too early to say what I’ll do. I am nonetheless ready.”
Rolland struck an optimistic tone that the staff would possibly proceed as a third-tier Continental-level outfit in 2023, even when that seems distant. On Wednesday, the overall collapse of the staff – which was meant to have expanded with the signing of Mark Cavendish and the creation of girls’s and improvement squads – was broadly reported.
Even when there have been the finances to run a Continental staff – and that is unlikely with out entry to main races – then they might nonetheless battle to obtain a licence from the French federation at this stage.
“I by no means stated it was throughout,” Pineau advised OuestFrance, earlier than backtracking: “Sure, because it stands, we’re stopping… If there is a miracle, I’ll name individuals again.”
Rolland, for his half, confirmed that even when that ‘miracle’ got here to move, he can be off, both to a much bigger staff or into retirement.
“I am going to proceed to assist the challenge, even when personally I will not be signing up for it,” he stated. “Continental degree, as I see it, is about younger riders. For the top of my profession, it is not what I need.”
‘I believe they have been conned’
Rolland backed Pineau in his final dying hope of saving the staff he created in 2019, and defended the Frenchman in opposition to the criticism that has come his means in latest days.
Pineau introduced plans for main funding in the summertime, notably from town of Paris and different rumoured company backers, however no cash materialised, and last-gasp conferences alongside his brother, Sebastien, have proved fruitless.
“For me, it is extra nuanced. I am very disillusioned and unhappy, however I am conscious that Jérôme and B&B Resorts did not need this to occur,” he stated.
“There was an issue at a sure second, and Jérôme will clarify in the end, however I believe they have been conned. It is doable that they have been offered a dream. However there we go, nobody needed this.
“Jérôme believed in me in 2019, I had a contract with him for 4 years, I am not going to chunk the hand that fed me. That does not cease me being stated, after all, or asking questions, however Jérôme is a younger supervisor, the financial panorama could be very difficult, and any such misfortune has occurred to different managers prior to now. Errors can occur.”
Rolland completed by reiterating his perception that the staff may keep on within the third-division in 2023 after which bounce again up in 2024.
“Perhaps there’s anger, however I choose to nonetheless consider that it is not over.”