Nicolas Roche will lead an experienced line-up for BMC Racing team at Il Lombardia on Saturday. Roche earned the right after a strong performance at the Giro dell'Emilia last week, finishing fourth, 19 seconds behind the winner Giovanni Visconti.
"Coming out of Giro dell'Emilia with fourth place was a good indication of where my form is at the moment. The two races are quite different and maybe the short, the steeper climbs of Giro dell'Emilia are more suited to me but I'm confident I can do another good result on Saturday," said Roche.
"Il Lombardia is definitely one of the toughest, if not the toughest, one-day races of the year so it would be nice to wrap my season up well. We have a strong team and as long as the legs are good on the day, I think it will be a good race."
Roche has had sporadic appearances at the Italian monument throughout the years. Last year, when he did not complete the race, was his first appearance since 2013. Roche's best performance came with 16th place at the 2011 edition, which finished in Lecco, where he came home in a group 27 seconds behind the surprise winner Oliver Zaugg. This year's route is a very different look to the 2011 race, with the day starting out in Bergamo and finishing in Como.
Roche will have some experienced riders for company in Damiano Caruso, Alessandro De Marchi, Martin Elmiger, Ben Hermans, Amael Moinard and Michael Schar. Third-year professional Manuel Senni is the only rider in his 20s among the eight-rider line-up. Sports director Max Sciandri is expecting a selective race and is confident in the riders.
"We saw at Giro dell'Emilia that Nicolas Roche is in great shape and can do well in these hilly Italian races. So I think Nicolas can do well again this Saturday. Alessandro De Marchi is also looking strong and motivated after the UCI World Championships, and that's exactly how you need to go into a tough race like Il Lombardia if you want any chance of a good result, you need the legs and you need the motivation," Sciandri explained.
"It's a selective course. It's more concentrated in the final section and personally, I think it's probably not as hard as last year's course. The finish is in Como but from the Madonna del Ghisallo onwards, it's a rollercoaster all the way to Como. The weather seems like it will be good and we'll play our cards in the best way possible."