Roche shows solid form Down Under

Nicolas Roche

Nicolas Roche (Image credit: Davide Tricarico)

By Shane Stokes

Showing solid form when he placed 12th in Sunday's Cancer Council Classic, Nicolas Roche will begin the Tour Down Under on Tuesday in a relaxed frame of mind.

"I have no specific goal in the race," he told Cyclingnews. "The aim is to gain form for when I get back to Europe. I have no pressure to get a result."

The 24-year-old got things off to a good start with AG2R when he finished just outside the top ten in Sunday's race, a precursor to the Tour Down Under proper.

"It was a really fast circuit and really, really fast sprint," he said. "There was some very crazy riding; everybody was always fighting, all nervous. It's not easy to start the season on a 1.7 kilometre circuit, and the 48 km/h average was quick. It was stressful, but fun."

Next up is the six-day Tour Down Under, and this will give further insight into his condition. "I hope the legs are okay on the climbs now. I still have three kilos to lose."

Following the ProTour race, Roche will travel back to Europe and ride the Méditerranéen Tour, the Tour du Haut Var, the Gran Premio dell'Insubria, Paris-Nice and Milan-Sanremo. The AG2R rider is hoping to compete in his first Tour de France this year, having finished a promising 13th overall in the Vuelta a España last September.

A rider diary from Nicolas Roche is coming soon to Cyclingnews.

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