Nicolas Roche heads up BMC's squad for 'toughest race of year', Il Lombardia

Irishman Nicolas Roche is hoping to build on solid results leading up to the final Monument of 2017 on Saturday

Nicolas Roche on stage 11 of the 2017 Vuelta a España (Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Nicolas Roche will lead American WorldTour team BMC Racing in Il Lombardia on Saturday, the final Monument of the 2017 season.

Irishman Roche describes Il Lombardia as a tough race, as befits its status as one of the most prestigious single-day events in the cycling calendar.

"Il Lombardia is definitely one of the toughest, if not the toughest, one-day races of the year so it would be nice to wrap my season up well," said Roche, who placed fourth behind winner  Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) at Giro dell’Emilia last Saturday and 14th overall in the Vuelta a España in September.

>>> The Monuments: Cycling’s five biggest one-day races

"Coming out of Giro dell’Emilia with fourth place was a good indication of where my form is at the moment. The two races are quite different and maybe the short, steeper climbs of Giro dell’Emilia are more suited to me but I’m confident I can do another good result on Saturday."

American Tejay van Garderen had originally been mooted as riding Il Lombardia, but his name is missing from BMC's final line-up.

Italian Alessandro De Marchi will provide the squad with another option alongside Roche.

"De Marchi is also looking strong and motivated after the UCI World Championships, and that’s exactly how you need to go into a tough race like Il Lombardia if you want any chance of a good result, you need the legs and you need the motivation,” said BMC sports director Max Sciandri.

Along with Roche and De Marchi, BMC's line-up consists of Damiano Caruso (Italy), Martin Elmiger (Switzerland), Ben Hermans (Belgium), Amaël Moinard (France), Michael Schär (Switzerland) and Manuel Senni (Italy).

Defending champion Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) will not be taking part after fracturing his shoulder blade in Giro dell’Emilia.

>>> Il Lombardia 2017: Latest news and race info

Front runners for the hilly race include Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac), Fabio Aru (Astana), Mikel Landa (Team Sky), Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Daniel Martin (Quick-Step Floors), Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) and Steve Cummings (Dimension Data).

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Nigel Wynn
Former Associate Editor

Nigel Wynn worked as associate editor on, he worked almost single-handedly on the Cycling Weekly website in its early days. His passion for cycling, his writing and his creativity, as well as his hard work and dedication, were the original driving force behind the website’s success. Without him, would certainly not exist on the size and scale that it enjoys today. Nigel sadly passed away, following a brave battle with a cancer-related illness, in 2018. He was a highly valued colleague, and more importantly, an exceptional person to work with - his presence is sorely missed.