Nicolas Roche, Irish champion in both the road race and time trial, will race for BMC in 2017, confirming that he will leave Team Sky after two seasons.
The American outfit will be Roche’s sixth top tier team in his 12-year career, having started at Cofidis and also ridden for Credit Agricole, Ag2r La Mondiale and Tinkoff-Saxo before arriving at Team Sky in 2015.
He helped Chris Froome to Tour de France glory in his first season and also won a stage of the Vuelta a España in the same year. This season he finished second at the Tour de Yorkshire and ninth at this weekend’s Clasica San Sebastian.
“Nicolas brings a wealth of experience and is exactly the sort of rider we are looking for to support our Grand Tour ambitions and work for his own personal objectives. A lot of our goals are centred around Grand Tours and we felt we needed an additional rider who could bring us experience in that field,” BMC general manager Jim Ochowicz explained.
Roche rode seven consecutive Tours de France between 2009 and 2015, finishing 12th for Ag2r in 2012. The Irishman Grand Tour credentials were cemented with top-10 finishes in the Vuelta in 2010 and 2013.
“I’m super excited because BMC is a team that rides with a lot of the characteristics that I like. They’re always up the front, riding with aggression and trying to make an exciting race. I think I’ll enjoy the aggressive style of racing,” Roche said.
“Looking ahead to the 2017 season, my main role will be to really support Richie Porte and Tejay van Garderen in their general classification ambitions, and hopefully I’ll have a good go at the Vuelta a Espãna.”