Nicholas Roche has accepted that he will ride for Alberto Contador at the Tour de France but is looking forward to learning from the multiple grand tour winner. Roche, 28, moved to Saxo Tinkoff after four seasons in France with AG2R, and while he was the sole leader throughout his time there, a shift to Saxo Bank will see him fulfil a number of other roles.
Along with working for Contador at the Tour, Roche will be looking for opportunities to ride for himself, although he has not yet finalised his racing programme for the season.
“I knew Contador was here before I came and I’m perfectly okay with that,” Roche told Cyclingnews.
“This is a situation where I can learn a lot as well, hopefully the team will have me step it up and work on the missing details that are so important in stage racing. I’m not going to race every day or every race with Alberto so hopefully what I can learn from him I’ll be able to express on the road myself. This is an exciting challenge for me.”
Roche has often targeted the GC in grand tours and has consistently competed inside the top 15 with a career high of 7th at the 2010 Vuelta in his palmares.
“I needed a change,” he replied when asked why he left AG2R.
“I’ve been doing the same thing over the last few years and that’s fine but I wanted a new structure and whole new way of racing. It was a great opportunity for me to change and I took it.
“Hopefully I’ll have different roles at different times of the year at different races. Obviously when Alberto will be there I’ll be riding for him but when he’s not there hopefully I’ll have the chance to race for myself. That of course depends on how I’m going because there are a lot of strong riders on the team.”