Roche spent four years as AG2R-La Mondiale's team leader, but his move to Saxo-Tinkoff means a change in roles. He tells Cycling News HD that 2013 has been about refocusing on what he wants. "It's just a question of putting it back into perspective and changing my goals," he says. "I have to focus myself with other goals and not just riding for GC." In some weird twist of irony, Roche came as close as ever to the Tour's yellow jersey in the team time trial. However, he missed out after the team finished nine seconds down on Orica-GreenEdge.
Despite this, the Saxo-Tinkoff rider still hopes to make an impression. "I hope I can have an affect on the race, when I'm asked to work," he explains to Cycling News HD. "Everyone goes to the Tour de France hoping they can win a stage. I've dreamt of that since my first Tour back in 2009 and I've come close, but unfortunately I haven't been able to do that yet."
For the most part, Roche will be playing the team game on this occasion. His team-mate, Alberto Contador is looking to upset the main favourite Chris Froome to take the overall victory. The Irishman is looking forward to the battle in the mountains.
"We know there's the ultimate favourite, Froome, because he's won most of the races," he says. "Then you have Contador, who says he's going to be there and win it. He's won it before and Froome hasn't. I think we're going in for a good battle." With so much focus on the fight between Froome and Contador, it would be easy to forget some of the other contenders. Roche thinks the challenges for the podium could come from close to home. "We could see riders like [Jurgen] van den Broeck or my cousin Daniel [Martin]," says Roche. "These riders are going to try and find a moment, when the battle has paused. When Froome and Contador look to the left, then they might go on the right."
Despite taking what some might classify as a step back Roche still thinks he can take the lead at a grand tour, once again. "I'm still 28 and I hope that my best year's aren't behind me, I'd be disappointed if they were. Hopefully, over the next few years, I can grow and get back into leadership."
Cycling News HD
You can ready the rest of this interview with Nicolas Roche in this week's issue of Cycling News HD. Issue 62 has all the latest from the Tour de France, with in depth analysis and stunning photography. Peter Cossins takes a look back at the action and scenery, which Corsica provided. We also preview the first of the big mountain stages and how they might affect the general classification.
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