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Roche helps team to top ten at GP de Denain

Posted 12 April 2012

By Cillian Kelly,

Nicolas Roche continued his season in Northern France today as he took part in the one-day GP de Denain. With bigger goals on the horizon, the AG2R-La Mondiale team leader took the opportunity today to work for his team-mates. The result of the team's efforts along the testing 199km route was a 10th place finish for the veteran sprinter Jimmy Casper.
Roche played an active role in setting up the sprint for Casper and he ended the race himself in 53rd place as part of the main bunch. He is building form for next week's Giro del Trentino and will subsequently hope to have good legs for the Tour of California in May.
Today's race was won in a bunch sprint by the Argentian rider Juan Jose Haedo (Team Saxo-Bank). The GP de Denain is part of the French cup series of races, so it is hotly contested by the domestic teams and riders. As such it was no surprise that it was two Frenchman who formed the break of the day after just three kilometres of racing, Remy Cusin (Team Type 1) and David Boucher (FDJ).
The pair worked extremely well together to build up a maximum advanatge of nearly nine minutes. But as the race reached the 15km finishing circuit in Denain with 60km to go, the gap was down to less than two minutes. The peloton, marshalled primarily by Roche's AG2R-La Mondiale team and Garmin-Barracuda, made the juncture with 20km left until the finish.
Roche was visible at the front of the bunch attempting to manouevre Casper into a decent position for the inevitable bunch gallop. But the four time winner of this race had to settle for 10th position as Haedo crossed the line first just ahead of Alex Rasmussen (Garmin-Barracuda) and Andrea Guardini (Farnese-Vini).
The former Irish champion continues a solid tradition of Irish riders at the GP de Denain. The first ever edition was won by Shay Elliott in 1959, Mark Scanlon was narrowly defeated in a two man sprint with Thor Hushvod in 2004 and Roche himself finished sixth here in 2007.
Having chosen to skip the Amstel Gold race and Fleche Wallonne, next up on the calendar for Roche is the aforementioned Giro del Trentino. This is a race consisting of four stages and gets underway on Tuesday 17th April.
2012 GP de Denain
1 Juan José Haedo (Saxo Bank) 4:38:13
2 Alex Rasmussen (Garmin-Barracuda) s.t.
3 Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini) s.t.
4 Fabien Bacquet (BigMat-Auber 93) s.t.
5 Arnaud Démare (FDJ-BigMat) s.t.
6 Guillaume Boivin (SpiderTech) s.t.
7 Kenny Van Hummel (Vacansoleil) s.t.
8 Denis Flahaut (Roubaix-Lille Métropole) s.t.
9 Matteo Pelucchi (Team Europcar) s.t.
10 Jimmy Casper (AG2R-La Mondiale) s.t.
53. Nicolas Roche (AG2R-La Mondiale) s.t.

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