2012 is an important season for Nicholas Roche. Out of contract at the end of the season, the 27-year-old needs a string of results if he is to command the status of team leader he currently holds at AG2R La Mondiale.
However the Irishman insists that contract talks are far from his mind at present, and that his focus is centred on picking up results.
"To be honest I’ve been thinking about getting results before thinking about anything else,” he told Cyclingnews.
“Talk of contracts hasn’t gone through my mind yet. I’ve not thought about any options, just about getting good feelings on the bike first. I’ll concentrate on the bike and think about that later in the year.”
Roche has so far struggled for form, picking up an illness around Paris-Nice and struggling for much of the spring. He has pinpointed over training as a possible reason but with an altered race programme as he builds towards the Tour de France he is aware that results will be all important.
“My form is so-so. I had a difficult start to the season and I’m just getting there now. I’m not trying to rush things now.
“The weather was pretty good this winter but looking at my training I think I might have overdone it and arrived at the first few races in tired shape. I had flu after Paris-Nice and it took me a while to come back and now I had a short break to recover and taking it step by step and working towards the Tour of California, Tour de Suisse and then the Tour.
Roche had a disappointing 2011, failing to make an impression at the Tour and Vuelta, two races he’d shone in during the 2010 season. His new race programme is an attempt to rediscover the form that carried him to 15th in Tour and 7th at the Vuelta in 2010.
“I’ve changed a lot of races. So California instead of the training camp and then this year I did Trentino instead of some of the Classics, and then Tour de Suisse instead of the Duaphine. I’ve been doing some of the same races over the last few years and I just wanted to do something a bit different.”
“My head is right now and I just need to be patient and keep on working and then I should be there in time.”