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Roche will battle for podium in Vuelta

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Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) went out on the attack some distance from the stage 15 finish line, but his efforts yielded only a handful of seconds gain on his GC rivals.

Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) went out on the attack some distance from the stage 15 finish line, but his efforts yielded only a handful of seconds gain on his GC rivals. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Nicolas Roche (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) dug in and pulled out a solid performance on stage 15

Nicolas Roche (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) dug in and pulled out a solid performance on stage 15 (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) celebrates his stage win on the second day of the Vuelta

Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) celebrates his stage win on the second day of the Vuelta (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Nicolas Roche (Saxo Tinkoff) reinvented himself as a Grand Tour contender.

Nicolas Roche (Saxo Tinkoff) reinvented himself as a Grand Tour contender. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Ireland’s Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) lost time on the Collado de la Gallina stage after suffering badly with the cold, but says he plans to bounce back in the Vuelta a Espana’s final six stages.

Sixth overall, Roche attacked on the Porte de Bales on stage 15 and with strong support from teammate Oliver Zaugg managed to claw back 17 seconds but it was not enough to dislodge Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) from fifth.

“Oliver did a great job for me, just like the rest of my teammates have throughout the race,” he told the Spanish newspaper AS. “I’m going well and if it hadn’t been for the cold [on stage14] I wouldn’t have lost my podium place.”

“The race doesn't finish until Madrid though and I hope I will get onto the podium. I’ve never seen myself battling so well for the overall, and in the team we can see there are enough opportunities in what’s left of the race to try to do that.”

Roche may well have another opportunity to chance his arm on the long, grinding ascent to Formigal today, a climb that should suit his talents well.

 


 

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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.