Roche’s form good ahead of Tour of Britain
Strong showing in GP Ouest France pleases Tinkoff-Saxo rider
If things go to plan, Nicolas Roche would hope to be challenging for general classification honours at the upcoming Tour of Britain. Photograph: Harry Engels/Velo/Getty Images
On Sunday Nicolas Roche will begin his final race in advance of the world road championships and believes he is in good shape heading into the Tour of Britain.
The Tinkoff-Saxo rider showed good form last weekend when he attacked in the finale of the GP Ouest France in Plouay, surging clear on the final climb.
Although he was hauled back, being able to attack at that crucial point shows his condition is sharp.
“I felt good,” he told The Irish Times yesterday. “Unfortunately it was the next move which succeeded.
“I looked at the video on YouTube yesterday with a friend. You can see things very different when you look at it after the race.
‘Legs were good’
The Tour of Britain is this year a 2.HC-ranked event, one level higher than last season.
Roche normally rides the Vuelta a España and indeed was fifth overall and won a stage there last year. However, having done both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France this year, he decided to ride the shorter event so as not to completely drain his reserves.
“It will hopefully go well for me,” he said. “I kept the pressure on in recent weeks. I have been looking forward to it.
“ I raced in Hamburg and Plouay to get a bit of speed and kilometres back in, doing efforts, hoping that the Tour of Britain would be nice to finish it off before the worlds.
“If things go to plan, ideally I would like to fight for the general classification there. Looking at it over the last few years, some years it has been controlled, some years it has been a breakaway which settles the race.
A good shot
He also confirmed yesterday a deal has been signed for next season and an announcement will likely come soon.
While he would not be drawn on the identity of his next team, he said that he believes the move would be a good one for his career.
Roche will be one of several Irish riders competing in the Tour of Britain. The NetApp Endura team is expected to include Sam Bennett in its ranks, with the Carrick-on-Suir rider returning after winning a stage and finishing second in two others last year.
He is keen to repeat or exceed that success, and has been working hard in preparation.
Also riding will be Irish road race and time trial champion Ryan Mullen, plus Jack Wilson, who will both compete with the An Post Chainreaction Seán Kelly team.