Roche philosophical about missing out on chance to wear Tour de France yellow jersey on his birthday
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Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Roche philosophical about missing out on chance to wear Tour de France yellow jersey on his birthday

by Shane Stokes at 7:09 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Irishman ninth overall but rules out any attempt to try to move up today

Nicolas RocheAlthough he is celebrating his 29th birthday today and had in theory the opportunity to do so while wearing the yellow jersey of the Tour de France, Nicolas Roche said that he wasn’t disappointed to miss out by a narrow margin.

The Team Saxo Tinkoff rider helped his squad to finish a solid fourth in yesterday’s time trial, finishing just nine seconds off the fastest time set by Orica GreenEdge. He is the same margin off the yellow jersey of Simon Gerrans, and sitting ninth overall.

However while he said before the stage that he would welcome the chance to take yellow, he was philosophical about things when speaking to VeloNation afterwards.

“I wasn’t disappointed at all. Like I said, cycling is one of those things where you are allowed to dream a bit,” he said. “In the TTT anything could have happened. We proved that we were close enough. But to think about that [yellow] I had to think first of all about having a great TT.

"We were focussed on having a great TT and then whatever happened, happened. I didn’t start the time trial thinking that I was going to be in yellow. Instead, I was saying ‘come on guys, we have to win this.’ We were all thinking that too.”

Still, while he accepts the result, he doesn’t deny that it would have been a very proud moment if the team had been quickest. “Even without talking about the yellow jersey, winning the time trial at Nice with my family here would have been an exceptional moment by itself,” he said.

Only three Irishmen have ever worn yellow in the race – Shay Elliott did so in 1963, then Sean Kelly followed suit in 1983. Roche’s father Stephen donned the Maillot Jaune in 1987, then went on to win the race overall. Roche junior would still hope to do so during his career, but rules out trying to get the nine seconds back this week.

“There won't be any chance to try and, equally, I don’t really want to,” he said. “Wednesday is a 230 kilometre stage with a lot of wind. It is not going to be that easy. I also have to save energy for the harder days in the second or third week.”

In previous years Roche would have been much more focussed on individual goals and also on the fact that he is ninth overall, but since leaving Ag2r La Mondiale to ride alongside, and for, Alberto Contador at Team Saxo Tinkoff, his perspective has shifted. That is reflected in how he sees his current high position in the GC.

“The overall obviously is more symbolic than anything else. It is always good to come up on the TV screen in the top ten during the Tour. But like I’ve said, my overall ambitions are not there this year. It is just good for the morale rather than anything else.

“I do think we had a good TTT, and that is encouraging. The team gave it all. We were unfortunate with [Benjamin] Noval being caught clipping a camera and almost crashing. He would have been precious to us on the way back with the headwind. But anyhow, we call gave 100 percent and I think we did a decent TT.

“Before, we were expected to be in the top five. We made it. So I think overall we should be satisfied with what we did.”

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