Roche leaves BMC Racing to join the German team in 2019

Nicolas Roche relishes the opportunity at Team Sunweb to work for Tour de France contender Tom Dumoulin.

Sunweb announced on Wednesday that Roche will join the team, seeing him leave BMC Racing after two years. The Irishman helped Chris Froome at Team Sky win the Tour de France and worked for Grand Tour star Alberto Contador in Tinkoff-Saxo Bank. The last two years with BMC Racing, he rode with Richie Porte.

“For me it’s a great opportunity for me to go back and work for a rider who can aim for the overall victory, and it’s something I really enjoy doing and I think Tom has the physical capability of doing it,” Roche told Cycling Weekly.

“He’s shown how strong he is in the TT and he’s grown to one of the best climbers in the world as well. To win the Tour de France you need everything to go right and nothing to go wrong, and the legs obviously and the team – so there are many things that need to be combined to be a Tour de France winner. Physically, he’s definitely capable of it.”

Tom Dumoulin on stage 20 of the 2018 Tour de France (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Porte, affected by crashes, left the Tour de France on stage nine in both 2017 and 2018. He and many riders are leaving BMC Racing due to a late merger deal.

Polish group CCC will sponsor the team with BMC leaving, bringing in several riders from its Professional Continental team CCC Sprandi Polkowice. The deal came late in the 2018 season so some riders had already looked elsewhere for fear that the team would not exist.

“The merger has nothing to do with my change,” Roche continued.

“It was a perfect fit for me, I’m looking forward to working with Dumoulin next year, and obviously there’s great upcoming talent in the team and so it’s great to have a role there and share some of experience that I’ve gathered over the years. I hear a lot of good stuff in the team about how organised they are and I’m looking forward to that.”

Roche racing in the Vuelta a España now with Porte, who began with a stomach problems and lost time right away.

After two years at BMC, Roche welcomes the fresh start in the German WorldTour team with Dutch talents Dumoulin and Wilco Kelderman, and Australian Michael Matthews.

Dumoulin won the 2017 Giro d’Italia and this year, placed second in both the Giro and Tour.

“I insisted that I race until the end of the year, for me it was really important after having a difficult start of the year, I wanted to finish on a good note and race with the BMC jersey until the end of the year and finish in good terms,” Roche added.

“I’m also relieved that the news came out so I can talk about it freely and how excited I am about next year.”