Roche continues Worlds preparation at Tour of Britain

Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo) has been one of the most aggressive riders during this week’s Tour of Britain. The Tinkoff-Saxo rider has been jumping off the front for the past few stages. With two days remaining and the podium only a few seconds away from him, more of the same can be expected from him.

“I want to try something every day. Some days it works and sometimes it works better, sometimes it doesn’t work. I have to keep on trying,” he told Cyclingnews.

Roche’s attack on the hilltop finish at the Tumble earlier this week moved him into third in the general classification. While his attack ultimately ended in failure, it has only served to galvanise his determination. Roche has since been on the attack twice more, but slipped to fourth when Alex Dowsett (Movistar) jumped from 22nd to first when he escaped on stage six.

With some more than capable time triallist surrounding him, Roche knows that he’s in for a fight for a podium position. “Kwiatkowski is a better time triallist than I am, especially at that type of distance and there’s also Brad who is only a few seconds behind me,” he said. “It’s going to be tough to stay in front. I will try to make the most of it the next two days to try and give me a bit of a margin for the time trial.”

Medal contenders?

For Roche, as with many of the riders at the race, the Tour of Britain serves as preparation for the World Championships - which begin a week on Sunday with the team time trial. Ireland goes to the race with three riders and for the first time since 2011 they will fill all of those slots with WorldTour riders.

“I think we have a decent team,” said Roche. “Philip Deignan has been doing a decent job in the Vuelta with Froome. Dan Martin is there and fighting for GC and he’s in great shape. I think I’m in great shape and this race is definitely going to help me pick it up for the Worlds, because I was lacking a bit of racing. I think we are going to be competitive.”

The course is a little bit of an unknown quantity. It is expected to favour classic-type riders such as Philippe Gilbert or Peter Sagan, but climbers with a fast kick, such as Martin, could also flourish on this course. With his victory in Liège-Bastogne-Liège last season, Martin is one of the favourites for the podium, but Roche says they’re not going to put all their eggs into one basket.

“There are only three of us, so it is difficult because a lot of teams can ride against us,” he explained. “Every year we play it that we have our chance and we obviously have to ride together, but I don’t think that there is a particularly protected rider. We have to use the other teams.”

If Ireland were to take a medal, then it would be the first since Sean Kelly took bronze in 1989. The World Championships, where Roche will also ride the team and individual time trial, will mark the end of the season for the 30-year-old. When talking to Cyclingnews, Roche refused to be drawn on his destination for next season, although it is expected to be announced in the coming week that he will ride for Team Sky in 2015.

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