"It's a I've been waiting for two years now," Roche said. "Last year I had great results and great satisfaction, but the one thing that was missing was a win. This year I had little satisfaction and I finally get a win, so it balances out over the two years."
Roche was part of a three-man group that broke away on the final climb with 15km to go, and managed to get the better of fellow Irishman Philip Deignan (Radioshack) and Chris Froome (Sky) as the peloton was charging to the line just behind.
"Those last 15km went really quick. Once I got over the top it was a tailwind to the finish," he explained. "There were three of us, Philip seemed to be in great form because he attacked early on the climb and kept his pace, and Froome is on fantastic form. I knew once we were there we could ride, We tried to keep each other motivated."
The didn't have time to come to an accord, other than to work together to hold off the hard-charging field. Roche said there wasn't time to think in the finale.
"It's been such a great moment, just the split second when you put your arms in the air," he said. When asked about the significance of his win, he answered, "I think every ProTour [sic] race is significant enough, whatever country or place it is. The last time I came to China was the Olympics, I didn't quite enjoy the actual road race. This year I was happy enough with the prologue and I'm just over the moon with today."
Watch the video to hear more about Roche's win and why it is so important for his AG2R-La Mondiale squad.