Here's an article about his initial decision to retire at the end of the season:Can someone tell me what happened to Ilnur Zakarin? why is he retiring now? or maybe 33 years is enough. But maybe he started later his cycling career and didn't feel like he lasted what he should have.
Frome what I understand about the way he trained and the opportunities he took, he was not an overachieverRolland was 4th at the Giro d'Italia. I think he actually is an overachiever due to the fact that he always raced aggressively and created chances. Could've ridden anonymously for 9th place on gc instead. But he played his cards very well. Especially in 2011 & 2014.
Wasn't that just Vaughthers typical bragging around? Which eventually was nonsense as Rolland didn't improve at all with his super modern science training scheme.Frome what I understand about the way he trained and the opportunities he took, he was not an overachiever
Finishing 4th on Giro seems too much for him. However, it was a very weird edition with some questionable outcomes (Val Martello).Yeah, weird to call him overachiever. The expectations after TdF2011 were so high for him.
Funny it came out after I enquired about him yesterday.Vanbilsen retires. He cites injuries and operations as the main reasons.
He's happy with what he achieved citing his combativity award in the 10th stage of the 2015 TdF and his victory in Dwars door het Hageland as his main achievements.
Another rider ruined by DSM...Xandres Vervloesem decided to quit cycling at the age of 22. Lost the love for cycling at DSM, and when upon going back to Lotto, he crashed in his first two pro races, that was the final straw. He never got over that mentally.
I feel this post is very much written with the perspective of hindsight. His 4th overall in the Giro felt quite natural at the time. A bit unfortunate for him that he didn't focus on the Tour that year (he did it with a Giro GC campaign in his legs) because that could have been his one realistic chance for a podium. He was pretty strong in the Tour the year after as well, and there was always a feeling of unfulfilled potential with Rolland until then. You got some Iban Mayo vibes when he failed to put a good GC together in the Tour year after year. It wasn't until after he moved to Garmin in 2016 at the age of 29 and didn't perform that everyone more or less gave up on believing in him as a GC rider.Finishing 4th on Giro seems too much for him. However, it was a very weird edition with some questionable outcomes (Val Martello).
Apart from that, I think his resume is quite on line with what you could expect from Rolland (a fringe 2nd Tier climber with a penchant for breaks -rather than hunting low key Top-10- and very poor TT skills).
He managed to take iconic wins on TdF (Alpe D'Huez, Toussuire), a couple of low Top-10 on TdF, and even a Giro stage on his early declining years.