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Roche to impress in Romandie TT

Posted 27 April 2010

Nicolas Roche is hoping to make an early impression in the Tour de Romandie when he competes in this afternoon’s 4.3 kilometre prologue time trial through the Swiss town of Porrentruy.

The AG2R rider told Irish Pro Cycling that the short course was the perfect time trial distance for him and that he intended to leave nothing behind when he takes to the starting ramp just after 3 p.m..

“It is just a question of riding at the maximum. Four to five kilometers is usually my type of distance so I will definitely be doing everything to get a good time and to start the race well,” he said.

Roche was reluctant to make any pre-race predictions but is confident that his impressive early season form has returned after the Ardennes classics and said that he would not be shy in going for results.

“I was not going as good in the Ardennes as I was going in Catalunya and Paris Nice but I think I’m back again and that I can do something in Romandie. I always chance everything and try everything so there will be no change there. I’d like to grab a top 15 in GC and I’d love a stage win,” he said.

Roche quipped that his preparation for Romandie was to recover from Liege-Bastogne-Liege which he described as one of the toughest races of his season so far.

He found himself in the company of Robert Gesink (Rabobank), Simon Gerrans (Team Sky), Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin Transitions) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Farnese Vini), among others, in the fight for 11th place just seconds behind the first chasing group containing Andy and Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank), Alberto Contador (Astana) Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Chris Horner (Radioshack).

“I was disappointed with the result (22nd). I was riding just behind Gesink when he kicked with 500 or 600 metres to go but I didn’t haven’t the legs for 11th, it was going to be 16th, 17th,  or 22nd  as it happened, just a few metres back.

“I was a bit more disappointed at Fleche Wallonne because I was really hoping to grab a top 20. I worked a lot to be at the top of the first group at the bottom of the climb (Mur de Huy) but I completely blew on the left hander at 250 metres and dropped back out of the top 15 down to 30th, but that’s a long 250 metres on that wall,” he said.

Roche is looking forward to the six days in Switzerland where he believes that Friday’s 23.4 kilometre individual time trial and Sunday’s 122 kilometre ‘Queen Stage’ in Sion will define the race.

“Most of the stages are all right. I would be more worried about the second time trial and the last day is terrible with some difficult climbs,” he said.

Roche is looking forward to a short break after the race and to joining his family in Nice to celebrate his youngest brother Florian’s birthday before heading to the Pyrenees with his AG2R team during the second week in May for two weeks altitude training.

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