New signing Nicolas Roche is no stranger to Majorca, his father, Stephen who won the Tour de France , runs cycling holidays and training camps on the island.But due to the hectic schedules they both lead, they rarely have much time to catch up however, last week, while training here with his new team, TeamSky, Stephen did manage to pop up to Puerto Alcudia to have a coffee and spend some time with his son who says that he is settling in extremely well with his new team.
Roche, who is entering his 11th year as a professional, spent the past two years at Tinkoff Saxo and was key to the team led by Spain’s Alberto Contador, so he has come to TeamSky bringing a wealth of experience and he said that his first impressions of Team Sky have been good.
“I already knew a lot of the cyclists, many are friends, so that helped me settle in more or less straight away.
“It’s been an easy transition because I know almost every rider and have a good relationship with them.
“But, the structure of the staffing is really comprehensive compared with teams I’ve been on in the past – only Tinkoff-Saxo was similar.
“Everybody has a set role here as opposed to trying to do various different jobs,” he added.
“Obviously, I’m not too sure what my role is going to be this year but I would like to see myself in a supply role for Chris (Froome) in some of the bigger events.
“But, in the other races, I would like to be able to seize the opportunity because I’m hungry for progression and that is one of the reasons I came to Sky.
“I think the team is as strong as it’s ever been this year, if not stronger, and I know that I’ve the experience to step in when the going gets tough, if I need to lead, I will,” said Nico, as he is known by his team mates.
But, away from the Tour and the Giro, Spain is where the Irishman loves to race.
“The Vuelta(Tour of Spain) is the perfect race for me.
“I’ve finished fifth, sixth, and just outside the top 10 on a few occasions. I’d like to progress in one-day races, particularly the Ardennes classics, because with the training paths I’ve taken up to now, they’ve always come too early in the season.
“I’ve been there or thereabouts a few times but that cutting edge has been missing.
“San Sebastian is another race I’d like to do well in.
“It comes a week after the Tour de France and I’m usually in great condition at that point.
“I’ve finished in the top 10 there a few times and if there’s one race I think I could win one day it’d be that as it’s the most suited to me. “I’d also like to have a crack at the Tour of Catalonia, I think that too suits my cycling. I love the climbs inSpain because, while they are extremely steep, in some occasions steeper than the Tour de France, they are not as long,” he added.
And he has no problems in going up against his old team mate Contador.“This is the fourth time I’ve changed teams as a pro so I’m getting used to it now.
“I’ve raced against a lot of former team mates and team leaders, but never against the proper opposition, although I think the man to watch this year is going to be Chris Froome, the battle will be between those two.“Don’t get me wrong, you can never ignore the likes of his fellow Spaniard Alejandro Valverde or Colombia’s Nairo Quintana, but I think it’s going to be Chris and Albert’s year and if I can help Chris in any way, I’m there.
“Any role is going to be important, even if I just have to break the bunch up,” Nico said.
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