Age: 33 (03/07/84)
Pro Since: 2005
Team: BMC Racing
Strengths: Stage Races
Favourite Race: Tour de France
Nicolas Roche is an Irish professional cyclist with UCI World Tour team "BMC Racing". He is the former Irish National Road Race and TT Champion and is the son of Stephen Roche, a former World Champion and winner of the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia. The Roche family is renowned in cycling circles. Two of Nicolas’s uncles are former professionals while his cousin Dan Martin currently rides for the UCI World Tour team Garmin-Sharp. His mother Lydia, sister Christel and younger brothers Alexis and Florian also play a big part in his career and are among his biggest fans.
Nicolas enjoys huge support in Ireland and also in France where he was born in 1984. As a schoolboy Nicolas played rugby for the prestigious Blackrock College in Dublin and had set his mind on becoming a hotel or restaurant manager rather than following in his father's footsteps. However in 2002 that was to change; Nicolas recalls watching Mario Cipollini beat Robbie McEwen and Erik Zabel to win the World Championship in Belgium and from that moment he was inspired to try make it as a professional cyclist.
His decision surprised his family who encouraged him to continue with his studies. However Nicolas’s mind was made up and his determination took him to the elite French amateur club VC La Pomme in Marseille. His aggressive riding and impressive results at the club and on the Irish National Team soon caught the attention of a number of professional teams and he realised his ambition in 2005, turning professional with Cofidis.
He continued to progress as a talented all-round rider with the French based Credit Agricole and AG2R La-Mondiale teams and is now regarded one of the most consistent riders in the peloton with an ability to achieve top ten finishes in both one day races and stage races. Nicolas has ridden in the Beijing Olympics, the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana. However his significant breakthrough came in his first Tour de France in 2009 where he recorded 5 top ten stage finishes on his way to finishing 23rd overall.
Over the last few years Nicolas has continued to develop as a rider and in 2013 he signed for Team Saxo-Tinkoff. He supported teammate Alberto Contador in this year's Tour de France and played a key role in helping the Saxo Tinkoff squad win the overall best team award. In September, Nicolas achieved his best ever finish in a Grand Tour race, securing a top 5 position in the three week Tour of Spain. His performance was even more impressive given he won an individual stage and became the first Irishman in 25 years to wear a race leaders jersey at a Grand Tour.
In 2014, Nicolas changed his race programme to accomodate the Giro d'Italia, which began in Ireland for the first time. The opportunity to ride a Grand Tour in front of home fans was a very special experience for Nicolas and the Irish turned out in their thousands to support him. Unfortunately in the latter stages of the race he was involved in a crash which put an end to his chances of competing for the Overall GC. In June, he won his first stage race as a pro with an impressive performance at the Route du Sud. In July, he made his thirteenth Grand Tour start at the Tour de France where he rode for teammate Alberto Contador. However his team suffered a huge blow in the second week when Contador crashed out. In September, Nicolas finished 5th at the Tour of Britain and a fortnight later it was announced that he would be joining Team Sky in 2015.
Nicolas enjoyed a very successful first season with Team Sky. In July, he was an integral part of the team that aided Chris Froome to victory at the Tour de France. A month later, he carried his fine form into the Vuelta a Espana where he won stage 18 in impressive fashion. Nico began his 2016 season strongly with a 2nd place overall finish at the Tour de Yorkshire. In May, he was named on Team Sky's Giro d'Italia team, adding firepower on the climbs whilst riding in support of Mikel Landa. In the summer, Nico won the Irish National road race and time trial championships and was subsequently selected to ride at the Olympic Games in Rio. In August, it was announced that Nico would be joining BMC Racing in 2017.
In his debut season with BMC, Nicolas rode in support of teammate Richie Porte at the Tour de France. However when his team leader suffered a bad crash on stage 9, Nico was given more freedom to attack in the remaining weeks of the race. He rode aggressively and was involved in a number of breakaways but unfortunately a 6th position on stage 15 was the closest he got to his first Tour de France stage win. In August, he lined up at the Vuelta as joint leader of BMC and the team got off to the perfect start winning the opening team time trial stage. Nico rode consistently over the remaining three weeks, which included three top 10 stage finishes en route to finishing inside the top 15 on the Overall GC. He finished the season in excellent form with a strong ride in Lombardia before securing a place on the podium at the Tour of Guangxi. In 2018, he will once again focus on the major Grand Tour races.Website images provided courtesy of Chris Auld Photography and BMC Racing.
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