Nicolas Roche continued his push for a new professional contract on Tuesday, riding strongly on stage two of the Tour of Poland.
The 37-year-old dedicated himself to the service of Team DSM leader Jai Hindley on the lumpy 200.8 kilometre stage to Przemysl, helping set the Australian up for what would be seventh place on the uphill ramp to the line. Hindley was 12 seconds behind the stage winner, João Almeida of Deceuninck-QuickStep, with Roche placed 30th, 51 seconds behind.
Roche's fellow Irishman Ryan Mullen was prominent earlier in the stage, being part of a breakaway group. The newly-married Trek-Segafredo rider was reeled in before the finish.
Roche’s role in the race is to back Hindley rather than chase personal success, but he will hope to attract the interest of a team for 2022 by riding well. He jumped up 56 places to 30th overall.
Meanwhile two Irish amateurs have been performing strongly in France. Junior rider Darren Rafferty (Team 31 Jolly Cycles U19) showed the sort of form which earned him the national junior time-trial title last year when he won the stage two time-trial in the Tour Junior Causses-Aigoual-Cévennes on Sunday.
He then raced to solo victory on the hilly third stage that afternoon and finished a superb second overall, just two seconds behind the race winner Julien Azile Lozach (Nouvelle-Aquitaine Occitanie).
Elsewhere, Matt Teggart won the king of the mountains classification and finished ninth overall in the four-day Estivale Bretonne in Brittany on Monday. He was eighth, 10th, 10th and sixth on stages and finished the race one minute and 29 seconds behind the overall winner Johan Le Bon (Dinan Sport Cycling).
Tour of Poland (WorldTour)
Stage 2, Zamosc to Przemysl: 1 João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 200.8 kilometres in 4 hours 41 mins 33, 2 D Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), 3 M Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) both same time, 4 M Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) at 4, 5 M Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep) at 8, 6 L Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) at 12
Irish: 30 N Roche (Team DSM) at 51, 85 R Mullen (Trek-Segafredo) at 8 mins 24
General classification after stage 2: 1, João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 9 hours 42 mins 47, 2 M Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) at 4, 3 D Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), 4 M Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) at 11, 5 M Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep) at 18, 6 D Teuns (Bahrain Victorious) at 22 secs
Irish: 30 N Roche (Team DSM) at 1 min 1, 83 R Mullen (Trek-Segafredo) at 10 mins 22