Roche and Peraud to lead ambitious Ag2r La Mondiale squad at Tour of Beijing
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Roche and Peraud to lead ambitious Ag2r La Mondiale squad at Tour of Beijing

by VeloNation Press at 2:37 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Irishman in good form, motivated to perform strongly in new WorldTour race

Nicolas RocheSixteenth in the recent Vuelta a España, Ireland’s Nicolas Roche and Frenchman Jean Christophe Peraud have been confirmed as leading the Ag2r la Mondiale team for the upcoming Tour of Beijing.

The duo will head to China determined to ride as well as possible, with general manager Vincent Lavenu stressing the importance of the event for the team.

“It’s the first time that a WorldTour race takes place in China and I hope the Ag2r la Mondiale team will do well on this competition,” he stated, conscious that his team is pushing to retain its WorldTour licence and needs points to do so.

“It’s a WorldTour event and therefore a competition in which it’s important to get results. We line up at start of the Tour of Beijing with a strong team and we will aim to win stages and obtain a good overall ranking. We need victories and I hope we will come back to France with bunches of flowers!”

Roche’s Vuelta form plus his eighth place in last Sunday’s GP Industria & Commercio di Prato mean that he knows he can be a factor. “I have high goals for this Tour of Beijing,” the 27 year old stated. “I’m fit after a really tough Vuelta a España. I’m competitive and I will aim at the overall classification and try to score a stage victory.

“There will be an individual time-trial, which should be decisive. The individual time trial is not my strongest discipline, but I will do my best on a distance that suits me better than a time trial of 50 kilometers. It’s important for me and the team to obtain good results on this Tour of Beijing and until the end of the season.”

It’s been a long year for him and many others in the peloton, particularly as he has ridden two Grand Tours, but the chance to race in a completely different environment gives him motivation to keep going at this late point in the season.

“I was lucky enough to ride the Olympic Games in 2008 in Beijing. I lived in the Olympic village and, unfortunately, I have not seen much of this city,” Roche said. “I've only really discovered the Great Wall of China, which is magnificent. So this will be such a great opportunity to see more of the city.”

Also making the trip will be Peraud, who was tenth in this year’s Tour and sixth in Paris-Nice, Tour stage winner Christophe Riblon, 2010 Paris-Roubaix top-ten finisher Sébastien Hinault, Lloyd Mondory, Mikael Cherel, Julien Berard and the promising Blel Kadri.

The race runs between October 5th and 9th and is the first-ever WorldTour event in Asia.


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