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Roche ends Romandie on high note

Posted 01 May 2011

Nicolas Roche finished the Tour de Romandie on a high note by taking eighth place in the bunch sprint in Geneva where Ben Swift converted some excellent team work into a stage win for Team Sky.

Roche was back on song as the race closed in on a four-man break containing his AG2R La Mondiale teammate John Gadret over the final seven kilometres of the 164.6 kilometre stage from Champagne.

Gadret broke clear with Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank), Pierre Rolland (Europcar), and Matthias Brandle (Geox) over the final first category climb of the Col du Marchairuz.

The quartet reached the town of Nyon with a slender 45 second lead which was never going to be enough over the 25 kilometre flat run to the finish as Team Sky and Liquigas-Cannondale took up the chase from the BMC team of race leader Cadel Evans.

The break was finally caught at the seven kilometres to go mark where the BMC team moved quickly to restore control at the head of the peloton. Roche sensed his opportunity early, maintaining a presence up front as the Garmin-Cervelo team wrestled to upset Team Sky’s dominance.

A characteristic attack from Alexandre Vinokourov inside the final two kilometres was rapidly snuffed out by the BMC team before Team Sky swarmed once more to deliver Swift and fellow sprinter Chris Sutton to the line.

Roche tagged himself to the end of the Team Sky and Rabobank lead-out trains and was riding in the first ten riders heading into the final kilometre. A final pull by Geraint Thomas opened the door for Swift who was unstoppable over the final 500 metres.

Davide Vigano (Leopard Trek) took second place ahead of Oscar Freire (Rabobank) for the stage win. Roche weaved his way to eighth place with his result indicating a steady return to form coming out of the six-day race.

Evans had his BMC team to thank for controlling the stage and for delivering him to his second overall win in the race since 2006 with just 1 minute separating the top ten riders in the overall GC.

Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) finished second just 18 seconds behind while Alexandre Vinokourov completed the final podium at 19 seconds.

Roche’s top ten placing on the final stage nudged him a few places up the GC and he completed the race 58th overall, 6’46” behind Evans.

Results:

Tour de Romandie

Stage 5: Champagne – Geneva, 164.6 kilometres

1.  Ben Swift (GBr) Sky Procycling    3 hours, 50 minutes, 51 seconds        
2.  Davide Vigano (Ita) Leopard Trek             
3.  Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team             
4.  Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale             
5.  Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Pro Team Astana             
6.  Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Team RadioShack             
7.  Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad             
8.  Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale             
9.  Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar             
10. Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team   

8.  Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale – same time

1.  Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team    16 hours, 51 minutes, 49 seconds        
2.  Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad at 0:00:18        
3.  Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana at 0:00:19        
4.  Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Highroad at 0:00:31        
5.  Beñat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team at 0:00:41        
6.  Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team at 0:00:51        
7.  Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team RadioShack at 0:00:52        
8.  Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha Team at 0:00:58        
9.  Andrew Talansky (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo at 0:00:59        
10. David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo at 0:01:00   

58. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale at 6 minutes, 46 seconds

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