Roche satisfied with 15th, but missed out on possible 11th place overall
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Monday, July 26, 2010

Roche satisfied with 15th, but missed out on possible 11th place overall

by Conal Andrews at 7:15 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Irishman has mixed feelings about second Tour

Nicolas Roche Ireland’s Nicolas Roche has expressed his satisfaction with his 15th overall in the Tour de France, although he admits to having ‘nightmares’ about the thoughts of what might have been.

The 26 year old lost several minutes on stage 15 when his team-mate John Gadret refused to give him his front wheel when Roche punctured. The Irishman was Ag2r La Mondiale’s team leader and Gadret’s snub led to an angry dressing down afterwards by team manager Vincent Lavenu.

What’s worse, Gadret twice attacked the group of the main favourites after Roche was forced to stop and get a wheel from neutral service, making it impossible for his team-mate to return. Roche said after the stage that he was furious with the Frenchman, and wrote in his newspaper diary that he had to hold himself back so as not to cause real tensions on the team.

“I have looked at it about ten times already,” he admitted. “I have had nightmares about it, so it’s better we don’t do the calculations.”

He finished the Tour sixteen minutes and 59 seconds behind Alberto Contador. He had been with Contador and the other race contenders prior to his puncture on stage 15, and eventually reached the finish five minutes and two seconds behind.

While it’s unlikely he could have stayed with Contador, Menchov and Sanchez when they surged on the climb, nor with Andy Schleck’s bunch, it’s quite possible he could have finished with the group containing Gesink, Hesjedal, Leipheimer and Gadret (three minutes 57 ahead at the finish) or with the next group containing Kreuziger, Rodriguez, Klöden, Armstrong and Sastre (three minutes 44 ahead).

He ultimately finished three minutes 38 seconds off Luis León Sanchez’s eleventh spot overall.

Roche was riding his second Tour and was over 20 minutes closer to the winner this time round. He was satisfied at the finish yesterday, having reached the target he set himself.

“Goal achieved,” he stated. “I said minimum top 15, if possible closer to tenth beforehand… so top 15 will be satisfying enough,” he said. “I didn’t get extra time in any breakaways and I think I had a bit of bad luck, so there’s no way anyone can say I don’t deserve my top 15. I’m satisfied with that…I did it all with the legs [rather than luck], so I am happy.”

Ag2r La Mondiale was also pleased, giving him a new two year deal. He was team leader going into this year’s Tour and is likely to play a major part in the French squad’s push for results in the seasons ahead.


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