Podium place looks unlikely for Roche after mountain stage

Porte: the Sky rider won yesterday's stage

Porte: the Sky rider won yesterday's stage

Sat, Mar 9, 2013, 00:00

Cycling: Nicolas Roche finished a solid 15th on yesterday’s mountain stage of Paris-Nice, but didn’t have the performance he was hoping for on the summit finish of the Montagne de Lure.

The Irish pro was with the leading group nearing the top of the mountain and attacked, but lacked the legs to get clear. That effort put him into the red and he couldn’t respond when stage winner Richie Porte (Sky) surged closer to the line, and when several others chased.

Roche finished 49 seconds behind Porte and 16 seconds behind a chase group containing the other pre-race favourites.

He did move from 15th to 14th overall, but in being one minute and nine seconds off Porte’s race lead and 27 seconds behind third-placed Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM), his ambition of a podium finish in the race is looking difficult to achieve.

Two stages remain in the race, with today’s leg taking the riders 220 kilometres from Manosque to Nice. Roche must ride a very aggressive stage if he is to stand any chance of moving up.

Yesterday’s developments put Sky in a strong position to retain the title won here by Bradley Wiggins last year.

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