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Giro notebook, stage 18: Rollin still rolling; Cav wowed

VEDELAGO, Italy (VN) — Dominique Rollin (FDJ-BigMat) is happy to still be in the Giro d’Italia after being hit by a car in Wednesday’s 17th stage. The Canadian rolled across the finish line in Cortina d’Ampezzo with his left arm and leg bleeding and his jersey torn after a spill on the descent off the Passo Valparola.

Rollin told VeloNews on Thursday morning that it was no ordinary crash.

“I was hit by a car!” Rollin said. “A soigneur from Vacansoleil cut me off. He came out onto the race when he should not have been there and he came straight at me!”

Rollin said he sideswiped the team car at 80kph and went slamming down onto the pavement. Dazed, the Canadian couldn’t believe what had just happened. From the moment of his crash, Rollin had about another 100km and three more climbs to make it to the finish line.

“I was lucky I did not break my arm,” he said. “I didn’t know what to say. The car wasn’t supposed to be there. He didn’t have the credentials to be in the race. I was pretty banged up. It made for a very long stage.”

The 29-year-old Canadian said until that crash, his Giro had been going very well and he’s still hoping to arrive to Milan to complete his first grand tour. He finished safely in the main pack Thursday.

“I am banged up today, but the goal is to get to Milan. It’s the hard part of a grand tour to get over those stages that you’re not humanly built for when you’re 85kg,” he said. “The fitness is there and I am enjoying myself. I am appreciating a three-week stage race.”

Rollin is in the second year of a three-year deal with the French outfit, FDJ-BigMat.

“The team is very good. I am enjoying myself here. I am trying to bring something different to this team that isn’t just French, some different views and perspective on the sport,” he said. “I am climbing better than I have ever climbed. On Saturday up Cervinia, Sandy Casar (FDJ teammate) almost fell off his bike when he saw me,” Rollin said. “I came up to him, you want a bottle? He said, ‘you are still here?!’”

After the Giro, Rollin said he is aiming to do well in the Canadian WorldTour races in September. And the Olympics?

“I think someone’s demonstrated these past two weeks he deserves the spot that Canada has,” said Rollin, obviously referring to Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda).

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