Nicolas Roche on move from Sky to BMC: 'I'll be able to express myself again'

Irish champion Nicolas Roche says that he will be helping Richie Porte at the Tour de France and riding for himself at the Vuelta a España with new team BMC

Nicholas Roche in the 2016 Il Lombardia
(Image credit: Graham Watson)

Nicolas Roche says that he will be able to express himself again with team BMC Racing, after two years with his dream team Sky.

Cycling Weekly reported the Roche/BMC deal in July. He leaves Sky after two years of service that included helping Chris Froome win the 2015 Tour de France.

"Now with BMC, I should be happy there," the 32-year-old Irish champion told CW. "It suits me. I'll be able to express myself again as an individual and also to help Richie Porte."

Roche's goal, as with Froome, is to support his captain to a Tour de France win. This year, Australian Porte fought over the final Alpine passes and reached fifth overall.

>>> Nicolas Roche confirmed for BMC for 2017 season

"I was in the hunt for a new adventure," said Roche about his move to BMC.

"BMC gave me a good challenge to help Richie in the Tour and then, I think I'll be able to give it a good go in the Vuelta afterwards."

Porte also rode for Froome and Bradley Wiggins before moving to BMC to lead its Tour de France team. Roche rode in Sky's black colours from 2015 to 2016.

Nicholas Roche wins stage eighteen of the 2015 Tour of Spain (Watson)

Nicholas Roche wins stage 18 of the 2015 Vuelta a España (Photo: Graham Watson)
(Image credit: Watson)

"I always wanted to go to Sky, since the team's debut. I'm an anglophone rider and I needed to ride with Sky. It was a tick in the box and I enjoyed my two years, and now it's time for a new challenge."

Roche believes he will find a mix of racing different to what he had in team Sky and in team Tinkoff, where he worked for Alberto Contador.

"I came from Tinkoff-Saxo, which had a much more aggressive way of attacking," Roche added.

"Sky was more about, 'Let's make the race the way we want the race to happen. If it works, fine, but at least you try to control the race.' It's a different approach. With Tinkoff, it was, 'Where are the weakness and where are we going to attack?' In Sky, 'Where are we not going to get attacked and how are we not going to fail?'

Watch: Team Sky pre-race activation exercises

"It was great to get the two approaches, and hopefully now, I'll be able to bring that on to BMC. Richie already has many experienced riders around him, but I'll add to it."

Roche had his chance to lead Team Sky in the Vuelta and won a stage last year.

>>> Nicolas Roche: Alberto Contador still has a lot to give

"When I signed with Sky two years ago, I said that I wanted to cross the line on the Champs-Élysées with the yellow jersey on my side. That was one of the most emotional days in my career,” he said.

"And my stage win in the Vuelta last year... I came into the Vuelta with a top five in my mind, but then I crashed twice. It took a week to get back. I had to fight mentally, and just to get that was a massive relief. The Vuelta was just not over after the first week. It was massive."

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.