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Resilient Roche seals top ten place at Tour de Suisse

Posted 17 June 2012

By Cillian Kelly,

Nicolas Roche has ended the Tour de Suisse in tenth place overall after another impressive performance in the mountains. 
Roche (AG2R-La Mondiale) showed once again that he had the strength to stay with the group of main favourites on today's final day of racing as Rui Costa (Movistar) sealed victory overall.
The stage was won by the Estonian Tanel Kangert (Astana) who won a two-up sprint with Jeremy Roy (FDJ) after a breakaway succeeded in making it to the finish for the second day running. 
But it was the battle for the overall prize behind which provided the most engrossing action. On the penultimate climb of the Glaubenberg, with 45km to go, Frank Schleck (Radioshack-Nissan) attacked and began to establish a potentially race winning time gap between himself and the group of favourites containing the yellow jersey of Rui Costa.
The increase in the pace after Schelck's attack put Roche into the red and the Irishman was soon dropped off the back. 
His resilience though was impressive and he fought his way back into the group before the summit of the Glaubenberg where Schleck had a one minute advantage.
With a long descent followed by a second category climb to the finish, Schleck had a real chance of snatching the overall victory from Costa having started the day just 14 seconds in arrears.
The combination of Schleck’s weakness in descending and the combined efforts of those in the chase group eroded the Luxembourger’s lead, and sensing the inevitable he took the decision to sit up.
While Kangert was busy stealing the stage win from Roy up front, Roche's group behind fragmented and reformed a number of times on the final climb before eventually crossing the line intact. Roche finished the stage in 14th place with the same time as Schleck and Rui Costa.
The former Irish champion began the day in 13th place overall but thanks to his impressive display on today's climbs, he launched himself back into a top 10 position. This was his goal before the race began nine days ago, so to succeed in his efforts will be a big boost to his confidence with the Tour de France less than a fortnight away.
Roche has set his sights on achieving as high an overall place as possible at the Tour and his success in claiming a top 10 in this, the final tune-up race, shows that he is coming into form and will be ready for the challenge.
Tour de Suisse
Stage 9: Näfels-Lintharena to Sörenberg , 215.8kms
1. Tanel Kangert (Astana) 5:54:22
2. Jeremy Roy (FDJ) at 2"
3. Matteo Montaguti (AG2R-La Mondiale) at 31"
4. Robert Kiserlovski (Astana) at 1'46"
5. Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank) s.t.
6. Matthias Frank (BMC Racing) s.t.
7. Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo Bank) s.t.
8. Frank Schleck (Radioshack-Nissan) at 1'48"
9. Robert Gesink (Rabobank) s.t.
10. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Movistar) s.t.
14. Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) s.t.
Final General classification:
1  Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Movistar) 35:54:49

2. Frank Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan)   at 14"

3. Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma - QuickStep) at 21"

4. Robert Gesink (Rabobank) at 25"

5. Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel-Euskadi) at 40"

6. Roman Kreuziger (Astana) at 47"

7. Tom Danielson (Garmin-Barracuda) at 48"

8. Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank) at 59"

9. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Movistar) at 1'42"

10. Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) at 1'52"

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