Top Irish rider Nicolas Roche is paying a rare visit to the North of England this weekend. Roche will be in Sheffield on November 19 and 20 to sign copies of copies of his new book 'Inside the Peloton' and lead a 100km ride in the rolling hills of South Yorkshire.
Bike maker Planet X is hosting the event, which is open to everyone and includes the launch of the company's 2012 range of bikes. Roche will be signing copies of 'Inside the Peloton' on Saturday afternoon at Planet X's showroom and the ride heads out early Sunday morning before returning for refreshments in the early afternoon.
If you're wondering what's the link between a Sheffield bike company and Ireland's top rider, the answer is legendary Irish cycling figure 'Big Frank' Campbell. Roche's mentor and the former Irish national team manager is now the principal road bike designer at Planet X. 'Inside the Peloton' is dedicated to Campbell.
In the last couple of years, as team leader of AG2R-La Mondiale, Nicolas Roche has stepped out of the shadow of his famous father Stephen (who gives his thoughts on Nicolas's career in 'Inside the Peloton'). His 2011 season was troubled by injury but he bounced back to finish 26th in the Tour de France, 16th in the Vuelta a España and to take a stage win in the Tour of Beijing.
In the meantime, Roche's race diaries in the Irish Independent have cemented his popularity at home, and he is almost certain of a place at the 2012 Olympics after Ireland's national ranking secured the country four spots in the road race, with only three riders – Roche, Daniel Martin and Philip Deignan – having the necessary UCI points to take part.
"It's great to get three riders in," Roche recently told the Irish Independent. "It shows that we are improving every year. I think we will have a good team in London and hopefully I'll be there and able to compete."
For more details on how to take part in Planet X's Nicolas Roche weekend, click here.