Nicolas Roche

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Nicolas Roche
Nicolas Roche 2016.jpg
Personal information
Full name Nicolas Roche
Nickname Nico[1]
Born (1984-07-03) 3 July 1984 (age 33)
Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, France
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)[2]
Weight 70 kg (150 lb; 11 st)[2]
Team information
Current team BMC Racing Team
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Rider type All-rounder
Amateur team(s)
2002 OCCV Draguignan
2003 SC Nice
2003–2004 Vélo-Club La Pomme Marseille
2004 Cofidis (stagiaire)
Professional team(s)
2005–2006 Cofidis
2007–2008 Crédit Agricole
2009–2012 Ag2r–La Mondiale
2013–2014 Saxo–Tinkoff
2015–2016 Team Sky
2017– BMC Racing Team
Major wins

Grand Tours

Vuelta a España
2 individual stages (2013, 2015)

Stage races

Route du Sud (2014)

One-day races and Classics

National Road Race Championships (2009, 2016)
National Time Trial Championships (2007, 2016)

Nicolas Roche (born 3 July 1984) is an Irish professional road bicycle racer. He has twice been national champion and has numerous top ten finishes in Grand Tour stages, including stage wins at the 2013 Vuelta a España and the 2015 Vuelta a España. He represented Ireland at the 2008 Summer Olympics in the road race. He has competed for Ireland 7 times at the road world championships.

Early life[edit]

Roche, who was born in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, France and is the son of former cycling champion Stephen Roche and his former wife, Lydia, nephew of former cycling professionals Laurence Roche and Neil Martin and cousin of 2008 Irish road champion Dan Martin. He spent his childhood living in both Ireland and France, living in Dublin from 1996 to 1999, where he was educated at Lycée Français d'Irlande in Foxrock for two years and Blackrock College, a private school in Dublin, for one year. During this period he was a keen soccer and rugby player.[3] He moved to southern France in 1999, where he spent most of life since. He currently resides in Monaco, having previously lived in Varese, Italy until 2013.[3]

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

He turned professional at the end of 2004, with team Cofidis and became one of the youngest UCI ProTour racers.[4] As his father is Irish and his mother French, Roche had dual nationality as an amateur. In early 2005, Roche was told by French officials to choose between his two nationalities. Roche declared for France as he was planning to spend the rest of his life in France.[5] The loss of Roche was a blow to Irish cycling,[6] as he had won the 2002 Junior Tour of Ireland[7] and finished third in the 2004 Irish Elite championship.[8] However, six months later, the UCI and Cycling Ireland told Roche he was given incorrect information, and that he could compete for Ireland and keep his two nationalities, which he did.[9]

During his first two years, he was often a domestique, but he did get a few good results, mostly in French Cup races. His first win as a professional was a stage in the 2004 Tour de l'Avenir, a race known as a mini-Tour de France for riders under 25.[10][11] He wore the yellow jersey for two days and finished tenth overall. He was in major breakaway in the 2006 World championships in Salzburg, Austria.[12] Soon after, he signed a two-year contract with Crédit Agricole on the back of his many good results this season.

Credit Agricole (2007–2008)[edit]

In 2007, Roche rode the Giro d'Italia. In June, he won the Irish National Time Trial Championships (CN) in Dungarvan.[13] He came also fourth in the Road Race Championship. Due to injury, Roche withdrew from the Tour of Ireland and missed the World Championship.

Roche had planned 2008 for the Giro d'Italia but organizers RCS did not invite his team. He changed his schedule, and finished sixth in the Tour Ivoirien de la Paix, 15th in Clásica Internacional de Alcobendas in Spain and won a stage[14] in GP Internacional Paredes Rota dos Móveis in Portugal. After finishing seventh of the Tour de Wallonie, he competed in the Beijing Olympic road race, teaming with Philip Deignan, won a stage in the Tour du Limousin, and was then picked for his first Vuelta a España. Roche had good performances in the Vuelta, nearly winning stage 18 into Las Rozas, where he was outsprinted by Imanol Erviti after a 17-man breakaway. Roche had three top-ten and ten top-20 stage finishes, finishing a fine 13th in the general classification, during what was only his second Grand Tour. Roche along with Deignan and Roger Aiken made up the Irish team for the 2008 World Championship in Varese. Roche was in an early crash and retired.

Ag2r (2009–2012)[edit]

2009[edit]

Roche at the 2009 Tour de France

Roche signed a two-year contract with Ag2r–La Mondiale following the disbandment of Crédit Agricole. For most part of the year and after a solid performance in the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, Roche was in consideration for the Tour de France team and after winning the Irish National Road Race Championships for the first time in June 2009, it was announced that Roche had been selected by Ag2r–La Mondiale to ride his first Tour de France the following month. He had a fine debut Tour, finishing in 23rd place overall and 5th in the points classification. He had five top ten placings in the race and finished 2nd on stage 14.

2010[edit]

After a good early season, where he finished 10th in Paris–Nice, 5th in the Volta a Catalunya and 2nd in the Irish National Road Race Championships, Roche was chosen as the co-leader of the Ag2r–La Mondiale team in the Tour de France and during the race he wrote articles for the Irish Independent newspaper. Roche finished 15th overall, but could have been a few ranks above had he not lost four minutes to the race leaders because of a flat tyre in stage 15.

After the Tour, Roche finished 8th in the Clásica de San Sebastián and in September, he led Ag2r–La Mondiale at the Vuelta a España. His performance was even better than during the Tour de France, as he was really close to the best climbers of the race, losing very little time in stages with a mountain top finish. He finished 7th overall however was promoted to 6th overall after Ezequiel Mosquera's second place was annulled. He finished only five minutes and three seconds behind overall winner Vincenzo Nibali. This place was the best in a Grand Tour by an Irishman since 1988. The performance lifted him to 32nd in the year end UCI World Rankings with 148 points. Roche was part of the three-man Irish team at the 2010 World Championships in September.

2011[edit]

Roche at the 2011 Tour de France

Roche's season was hampered by injuries and crashes, particularly by one in the Critérium du Dauphiné[15] He entered the Tour de France as a team leader again, but quickly realized he had not fully recovered from the crash and could not hope for a good general classification. He got in a number of unsuccessful breaks in the final week, hoping to grab a stage win, and eventually finished 26th overall. He also rode the Vuelta a España, finishing 16th overall.

In October, Roche won the 3rd stage of the inaugural Tour of Beijing.[16][17] This marked his first international victory in three years and his first win on the World Tour. He finished the season world ranked 150th with 19 ranking points.

Roche published a memoir in 2011 called Inside the Peloton. It was the winner of the Sports Book category at that year's Irish Book Awards.

2012[edit]

Roche renounced his French citizenship in 2012, becoming solely an Irish national.[3] He showed some form with top-20 finishes in Paris–Nice and the Tour of California. He finished 10th overall in the Tour de Suisse, and 2nd and 3rd respectively in the National Road Race and Time Trial Championships before riding the Tour de France. Roche moved up to seventh overall on the first mountain stage seven which finished on La Planche des Belles Filles. However he lost time over the time trial on stage nine and rest of the mountain stages. On stage 18, Roche broke clear of the peloton in the last 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) with Luis León Sánchez. The pair passed the day's breakaway and looked set to contest the stage win only to for Mark Cavendish to sprint past in the final 200 metres (660 feet). Roche sat 11th overall heading into the time trial on stage 20 and targeted a top ten finish, but a weak time trial saw him drop a place to 12th. Roche, along with Dan Martin and David McCann, represented Ireland in the Olympic Games Road Race. He then rode the Vuelta a España where he had a good start and sat seventh overall by the second week of the race. However, he struggled through the last week of the race and dropped down to 12th overall by the end of the race.

Tinkoff–Saxo (2013–2014)[edit]

On 1 August, it was announced that Roche would leave Ag2r–La Mondiale at the end of the 2012 season, ending an eight-year association with French-registered teams.[18] He signed a two-year contract with Saxo–Tinkoff for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.[19]

2013[edit]

Throughout much of the season with Saxo–Tinkoff including the Tour de France, he rode as a domestique for Alberto Contador with few results. After a good performance at the Clásica de San Sebastián finishing 5th, he was given leadership at the Vuelta a España. On 25 August, Roche won stage two of the Vuelta by breaking away with three others on the final climb at the end of the 177 km (110.0 mi) stage from Pontevedra to Alto Do Monte Da Groba.[20][21] Roche held the leader's red jersey until stage 8, and also held the lead of the points, mountains and combination classifications at one stage in the race. On stage 8 Roche lost the jersey finishing eight seconds behind Daniel Moreno to fall one second behind in the general classification. After stage 13 Roche was 2nd overall but on a cold day to Andorra on stage 14 he dropped to 6th overall. He went on to finish 5th overall in the general classification, his best result to date in a Grand Tour.[22][23] Later that year Roche again competed for Ireland in the World Championships and the World Time Trial Championships where he finished 13th.

2014[edit]

Roche had few early season results before participating in the Giro d'Italia which started on the island of Ireland and was given the role as co-leader with Rafał Majka. Roche also took part at the Tour de France as a domestique to Alberto Contador. Before the Tour, Roche won the overall classification of the Route du Sud ahead of Alejandro Valverde. He won the queen stage win in the process and also the points classification. This was his first stage race victory and was a race which his father also won in 1985.[24] Roche went into the Tour of Britain expecting a good result[25] and placed 5th overall.

Team Sky (2015–2016)[edit]

Roche at the 2015 Vuelta a España

2015[edit]

In 2015, Roche left Tinkoff–Saxo to join Team Sky.[26] On 10 September, Roche won stage 18 of the Vuelta a España in a sprint finish against Haimar Zubeldia.[27][28]

2016[edit]

After a disrupted winter training due to more than one spider infection while riding, Roche struggled with few early season results. At the end of April Roche competed in the Tour de Yorkshire looking for a good result. On the final stage Roche attacked a group of favourites alongside Thomas Voeckler where he was beaten in the final sprint to the line. This gave him 2nd place overall in the general classififcation. After this race it was confirmed that Roche would take part in the Giro d'Italia for a third time in his career. Roche started the race as a backup general classification rider to Mikel Landa in the first five days of racing, where he was placed in the top 10 overall. His form faded over the race but helped his teammate Mikel Nieve win the mountains classification. In June Roche completed the double at the Irish National Cycling Championships winning the time trial ahead of Eddie Dunbar and Ryan Mullen, and winning the road race ahead of Matt Brammeier.

Career achievements[edit]

Major results[edit]

2004
3rd Road race, National Road Championships
10th Grand Prix d'Isbergues
2005
4th Tour de Vendée
6th Tour du Finistère
2006
4th Overall Paris–Corrèze
4th Road race, National Road Championships
8th Polynormande
10th Overall Tour de l'Avenir
1st Stage 4
10th Paris–Camembert
2007
National Road Championships
1st MaillotIrlanda.PNG Time trial
4th Road race
5th Polynormande
6th Grand Prix de Denain
9th Paris–Camembert
9th Tro-Bro Léon
2008
1st Stage 1 GP Internacional Paredes Rota dos Móveis
1st Stage 1 Tour du Limousin
6th Overall Tour Ivoirien de la Paix
6th Rund um den Henninger-Turm
7th Overall Tour de Wallonie
8th Paris–Camembert
2009
1st MaillotIrlanda.PNG Road race, National Road Championships
2010
2nd Road race, National Road Championships
3rd Gran Premio dell'Insubria-Lugano
4th Grand Prix of Aargau Canton
5th Overall Volta a Catalunya
6th Overall Vuelta a España
8th Clásica de San Sebastián
10th Overall Paris–Nice
2011
1st Stage 3 Tour of Beijing
4th Road race, National Road Championships
5th Giro del Piemonte
8th Gran Premio Industria e Commercio di Prato
10th Paris–Camembert
2012
National Road Championships
2nd Road race
3rd Time trial
10th Overall Tour de Suisse
2013
5th Overall Vuelta a España
1st Stage 2
Jersey red.svg Held after Stage 8
Jersey green.svg Held after Stages 2 & 3
Jersey blue dotted.png Held after Stages 2–9
Jersey white.svg Held after Stages 2–8, 11–13
5th Overall Tour Méditerranéen
5th Clásica de San Sebastián
2014
1st Jersey orange.svg Overall Route du Sud
1st Jersey green.svg Points classification
1st Stage 2
5th Overall Tour of Britain
Jersey red number.svg Combativity award Stage 11 Tour de France
2015
1st Stage 18 Vuelta a España
1st Stage 1 (TTT) Tour de Romandie
2016
National Road Championships
1st MaillotIrlanda.PNG Road race
1st MaillotIrlanda.PNG Time trial
2nd Overall Abu Dhabi Tour
2nd Overall Tour de Yorkshire
6th Overall Tour of Britain
8th Time trial, UEC European Road Championships
9th Clásica de San Sebastián
2017
1st Stage 1 (TTT) Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
National Road Championships
2nd Time trial
4th Road race

Grand Tour general classification results timeline[edit]

Grand Tour 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Pink jersey Giro d'Italia 123 30 24
Yellow jersey Tour de France 22 14 25 12 40 39 35 33
golden jersey Vuelta a España 13 6 16 12 5 26
Legend
Did not compete
DNF Did not finish

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martin, Dan (26 August 2013). "Dan Martin's Vuelta Diary: 'I saw Nico attack . . . he surged and went away like a rocket'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Nicolas Roche profile". 
  3. ^ a b c Kimmage, Paul (22 March 2015). "Paul Kimmage on why Nicolas Roche is determined to be his own man in the peloton and off the bike". independent.ie. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  4. ^ "Roche makes it official". IrishCycling.com. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  5. ^ "Reluctant Roche declares for France". CyclingNews.com. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  6. ^ "Mixed start to season after Roche’s shock defection". IrishAbroad.com. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  7. ^ "2002 Michael Donnelly Junior Tour of Ireland results". CyclingNews.com. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  8. ^ "2004 Irish Elite Road Race Championships". CyclingNews.com. Retrieved 2008-06-29. 
  9. ^ "Roche redeclares for Ireland". CyclingNews.com. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  10. ^ "2006 Tour de l'Avenir Stage 4 results". CyclingNews.com. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  11. ^ "2006 Tour de l'Avenir Stage 4 description". LeTour.com. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  12. ^ "Bettini wins world championships, Roche impresses with aggressive move". CyclingNews.com. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  13. ^ "Roche wins Irish time trial championships". IrishCycling.com. Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  14. ^ "Win for Roche in Portugal". IrishCycling.com. Archived from the original on 14 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  15. ^ Cromwell, Gerard (11 June 2011). "Cycling: Roche hopes battered by horror crash". Irish Independent. 
  16. ^ "Nicolas Roche wins stage three to claim first WorldTour race victory". Daily Telegraph. London. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  17. ^ "Roche beats Deignan in Yong Ning Town". Cycling News. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011. 
  18. ^ Roche, Nicolas (1 August 2012). "Joining Contador team a huge new challenge". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  19. ^ "Roche signs for Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank". Cycling News. Future Publishing Limited. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  20. ^ "Nicolas Roche claims biggest win of career as Vincenzo Nibali takes lead". Daily Telegraph. 25 August 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  21. ^ "Nicolas Roche wins stage two of Vuelta a Espana". RTÉ Sport. 25 August 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  22. ^ "Nicolas Roche set to finish fifth in Vuelta after penultimate stage". Irish Independent. 14 September 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  23. ^ "Roche takes over leader's jersey from Nibali". Cycling News. 31 August 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  24. ^ "Irish cyclist Nicolas Roche emulates father Stephen Roche by winning the Route du Sud race". ABC Australia. 2014 ABC. Associated Press. 23 June 2014. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  25. ^ "Roche: I’m at the Tour of Britain to get a result". Cyclingnews.com (video). Future plc. 8 September 2014. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  26. ^ Nigel Wynn (30 September 2014). "Nicolas Roche joins Sky for 2015". Cycling Weekly. IPC Media Sports & Leisure network. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  27. ^ "Nicolas Roche: For once I hadn't messed it up and let out a triumphant roar as I took the stage win". Irish Independent. 11 September 2015. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 
  28. ^ "Emotional Nicolas Roche revels in stunning Vuelta victory". Irish Examiner. 11 September 2015. Retrieved 11 September 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]