Nicolas Roche: 'Joining SKY is about the marginal gains, the details'

2015 promises to be a big year for the 30 year-old.

NICOLAS ROCHE IS excited by the possibilities.

Having been confirmed as a Team SKY rider for the 2015 season, he talks a lot about how the cycling behemoth offers him an opportunity to push on, develop and work on the small, critical details.

I’m really excited and I think I’ll benefit from the training and development. I can learn a lot and I’m convinced they’re the perfect team for me. I hope I can bring my own experience and share it with the other riders there. Over the last few years, I’ve become more and more professional – everything like the training, diet, recovery, camps and daily routine. So, joining Team SKY will just be about the marginal gains, the details. It won’t be a revolution for me but it will mean I’ll be able to get a little deeper with everything.”

Roche was with Saxo-Tinkoff for the last two years but had been in talks with a number of teams about his 2015 ride. The move to SKY does mean he’ll play support to the likes of Bradley Wiggins and 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome though the 30 year-old isn’t uncomfortable with that. Instead, he thinks being surrounded by such an elite bunch will push him to become a better and more successful cyclist.

“Winning the Tour is something amazing but I think, even working as much as I can, I won’t be a Tour contender – only a handful of riders get to have that. But if I can play an important role in someone else winning it, I’m excited. When you’re surrounded by top athletes, it pushes you to progress.”

Cycling Tour de France Chris Froome, Tour de France winner in 2013, will be hoping to reclaim the title next year. Christophe Ena / AP/Press Association Images Christophe Ena / AP/Press Association Images / AP/Press Association Images

Roche was close to moving to SKY in 2012, prior to signing with Tinkoff-Saxo and he has always held ambitions to ride with the team. By making the switch now, it means he’ll join forces with another Irishman: Philip Deignan.

“A couple of years ago, I was hoping to make the move. Maybe I just wasn’t ready at the time but I’m super happy to join Philip and it’s pretty exciting to be there with him.”

Though he had an impressive 2014, winning the Route du Sud and finishing fifth in the Tour of Britain, Roche still feels he can do more and he’s confident that SKY can assist him in fine-tuning certain elements.

I believe my training is good but there’s something missing, I think. I’ve worked hard on my climbing but lost out on my sprinting. My time-trialing is very inconsistent. I’ll have one race where I’m up the front and the next I’m in the chasing pack. So, with the background Team SKY has, it’s a key element in the future.”

“I think I’ll have multiple roles at different races. I think with SKY I will progress and the move will help me achieve personal ambitions. I think I still have a lot to learn but it’s the right team for me to learn from and help me with my personal goals. I hope, sooner or later, to win on The Grand Tour – I came pretty close on two occasions but it wasn’t close enough. And if I can push to win the tour with Froome, that would be a great achievement.”

This weekend, Roche is back in Ireland for his annual charity cycle in Meath. This year, it’s in aid of Barnardos and kicks-off at the Fairyhouse racecourse on Saturday. But, all those expecting to see him in his new SKY colours will be disappointed as he’s contracted to Saxo-Tinkoff until the end of the year.

It’s fitting though. A new year, a new team, lots of possibilities. The way he likes it.

Ireland’s Nicolas Roche joins Team SKY for 2015 season

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