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Nicolas Roche (AG2R)
Irishman seen as big prospect and future team leader
Following on from a strong debut Tour de France this year, Nicolas Roche has signed a new two-year deal with his French AG2R La Mondiale team. The Irishman was due to compete again with the team in 2010 but the old agreement has been replaced by one extending until 2011.
Other teams had been interested in signing him but after talks with AG2R La Mondiale, the Irish road race champion opted to stay.
Roche finished second, fourth, eighth, eighth, tenth and twelfth on stages of the Tour, was fifth in the points classification and placed 23rd overall.
"The 2009 Irish road race champion had a very good Vuelta last year," said the team in a statement. "Vincent Lavenu put his confidence in him for this season and Nicolas showed he was correct in doing so. Notably, he had a very good Tour de France for his first participation in the race. He was second on a stage and took 23rd in the general classification. He also took several strong placings during the season; fourth and ninth in stages of the Vuelta a Catalunya and sixth on a stage of the Critierum du Dauphiné Libéré.
"The manager of the AG2R La Mondiale team believes in the talent of the young Irishman and the two parties have therefore chosen to continue their common path."
Roche's manager Andrew McQuaid said that the rider will become a leader of the team in the coming years. "Vincent Lavenu really likes Nicolas and thinks he is a good prospect for the future," he told Cyclingnews. "He wanted to sign him for two more years. He sees him as being a team leader, will build a team around him. Nicolas had approaches from other teams but that's normal as he had a very good year."
Roche, Vuelta a España stage winner Philip Deignan and Daniel Martin will line out in the Elite world road race championships for Ireland on Sunday.
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