"Why not?" says Roche to attacking his Tour rivals

Nicolas Roche, Tour de France 2010, stage 8

Nicolas Roche put himself right back in the top 15 today in Gap after an attack in one of the Tour de France's transitional stages between the big mountains.

The classification riders enjoyed a leisurely day with the winning group more than 10 minutes up the road and two Alpine stages just completed in the last three days. Roche had planned something else, though.

"Why not?" said Roche. "Is there a rule that says we have to wait for a sprint and let [Thor] Hushovd and [Mark] Cavendish get the points?"

The Irishman of team Ag2r La Mondiale sat 17th before the stage, right behind Bradley Wiggins and 2008 race winner, Carlos Sastre. But he used the final, unclassified Rochette climb to launch ahead and jump up the standings by four places.

He attacked with 10 kilometres remaining and 1.5 kilometres to the top of the climb. He held off the others by over one minute at the finish.

"This morning I said what ever happens I want to give it a go on this climb because it wasn't a steep climb. I lost a little bit of time on the harder climbs [in the Alps] because I can't climb with the best. This is a way I can get as close as possible."

Roche's goal is a top 15 in Paris in a week and a half's time. He faces two more transitional stages and then four high-mountain stages in the Pyrenees.

With his gains, the 26-year-old sits 13th overall and 6'23" behind leader Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank). His next closest rival is Canadian Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Transitions), who 41 seconds ahead of Roche and 5'42" behind Schleck.

A top 15 in Paris? Why not?

Tour de France 2010: Latest news

Cavendish in a 'must win' situation for Tour's green jersey

Millar rides through pain barrier to make time cut

Roche alongside Tour's top men ahead of Pyrenees

Wiggins to aim for Tour de France stage win?

Dan Lloyd battles on in Tour despite groin strain

Bradley Wiggins: Tour rest day conference

Evans faces rough ride in yellow

Riis secures replacement sponsor but Shleck in doubt

Tour de France 2010: rest day review (July 12)

Armstrong's Tour de France dream ends

Sky's objective clear ahead of Tour's high mountains

The Feed Zone (July 10): Tour de France news and views

Tour de France 2010: Stage reports

Stage 10: Paulinho claims narrow stage victory on Bastille day

Stage nine: Casar wins stage as Schleck and Contador go head-to-head

Stage seven: Chavanel wins stage and takes overall as Thomas drops out of Tour's white

Stage six: Cavendish makes it two as Tour hots up

Stage five: Cavendish wins his first stage of Tour

Stage four: Petacchi wins into Reims

Stage three: Hushovd takes dramatic win; Thomas second on stage and GC

Stage three live coverage: As it happened

Stage two: Comeback man Chavanel takes victory in Spa

Stage one: Petacchi wins in Brussels as bunch left in tatters

Prologue: Cancellara pips Martin to win

Tour de France 2010: Photos

Stage nine photo gallery

Stage eight photo gallery

Tour 2010 wallpaper

Stage seven photo gallery

Stage six photo gallery

Stage five photo gallery

Stage four photo gallery

Stage three photo gallery

Stage two photo gallery

Stage one gallery

Prologue photo gallery

Tour de France 2010: Videos

Stage nine video highlights

Stage eight video highlights

Stage seven video highlights

Stage six video highlights

Stage five video highlights

Stage four video highlights

Stage three video highlights

Stage two video highlights

Stage one video highlights

Prologue video highlights

Tour de France 2010: Race guide

Tour de France 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index

Official start list, with race numbers

Brits at the Tour 2010

Tout team guide

Tour jerseys: What they are and what they mean

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Wiggins

Tour de France 2010: Pictures

Tour team presentation, Rotterdam

Tour teams take to the cobbles: Photo special


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