By Shane Stokes in Cagliari
Young Irish rider Nicolas Roche was riding to set up the sprint for his Crédit Agricole team but instead found himself off the front inside the final kilometre of Monday's stage to Cagliari. He hit the front at the red kite, got a gap and held off the rest of the field for approximately 600 metres. He was swamped with about 400 metres to go, while teammate Thor Hushovd hit the deck in a crash which took down several riders.
"I was clear inside the final kilometre," the 22 year old told Cyclingnews at the finish. "Initially I was riding to lead out the sprint [for Hushovd] but when I went, the guy behind me let the wheel go and I got a bit of a gap. They caught me with about 400 metres to go." Roche sat up once he was caught and rolled across the line in 46th place, being classified in the same time as stage winner Alessandro Petacchi (Team Milram).
Despite his prominent showing, Roche said that the stage was tough due to problems with his cycling shoes in the heat. "I wasn't feeling the best all day. With the heat, I can't feel my legs. It's the first time to ride with these shoes in such hot weather and my feet were killing me. I will try to have to get something sorted out. But I guess it is a good sign to go like that in the final kilometre of a stage."