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Nicolas Roche (AG2R-La Mondiale) finishes stage one of the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Irishman confident he can compete in the mountains
The 26-year-old Irishman was forced out of the Critérium du Dauphiné last month after a serious crash on stage 5. Roche was left with multiple injuries including cuts to his arm, thigh and chin.
At the Tour de France teams’ presentation at the Puy du Fou this afternoon the Irishman only had a light dressing on his right elbow as a reminder of the crash and despite admitting to feeling tired and having nerves ahead of Saturday’s first stage he remains confident that he can live up to expectations and compete in the mountains.
Earlier this year Roche told Cyclingnews that, "This route suits me well. The route in 2010 suited me well, too. There are a lot of mountains! It'll be important to prepare well for the team time trial. I heard that even though 23 kilometres is short, a team could lose one and half to two minutes on that day. Every second will count for a good result."
Last year Roche climbed his way to 14th place overall in Paris and this year, despite his Dauphiné set back, he is aiming at a top ten slot. He also confirmed that he will once again ride the Vuelta a España - his favourite race - and where he finished 7th overall.