'The hardest and easiest decision I've had to make': Nicholas Roche retires after 17 years

The Irishman has raced for some of the biggest names in cycling throughout his career

Nico Roche riding his final professional race at the Irish National Championships road race 2021
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Nicholas Roche has announced his retirement from professional cycling at the age of 37 after a 17-year career with some of the best teams in the peloton. 

Roche competed in his final event at the Irish National Championships road race in Wicklow on Sunday, October 3, his 1270th pro race. 

The Irishman chose his home race as it finished in his "favourite place in the world," surrounded by friends, family and Irish fans.

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In a tweet, Roche said: "Today I announce my retirement from professional cycling.

"This is both the hardest and easiest decision I have ever had to make. I have been so lucky to have spent time with some of the best cyclists in the world, past and present.

"We often discussed when it the right time to start a new chapter. I always thought I would keep racing for as long as possible, however these riders often said that one morning you will wake up and just know it is time to retire."

Roche rode alongside the likes of Alberto Contador, Chris Froome and Peter Sagan, among many other great names in his career, supporting them but also taking major results himself.

"I never believed them until that day arrived in August for me," he continued. "For the first time in my life I woke up one morning before a race knowing it was time to do something else."

Roche has taken 12 wins throughout his career with the last being the National Championships double in 2016, an achievement just managed by Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo) this year.

Nicholas Roche in red leader's jersey of Vuelta a España in 2013

Nicholas Roche in red leader's jersey of Vuelta a España in 2013

(Image credit: Getty Images)

His two stages of the Vuelta a España in both 2013 and 2015 were his biggest wins, giving him time in the leader's jersey as well as two top-10s overall at the Spanish Grand Tour. He also managed top-15s in the Tour de France as well as other big results.

Roche said that the last race of his career was emotional as he rode through his home country with friends, family and the fans, which he said made racing in Ireland "so special."

"There were a lot of emotions running through my head the last few kilometres, a tear was shed, but luckily I have no regrets.

"It feels very fitting that the last race will be here for it was in the Wicklow mountains as a 12-year-old that I started dreaming of one day being a professional cyclists. Little did I know that my dreams would come true."

Roche added that since that day in August he wakes up every day excited for new opportunities. He will be joining Trinity Sports Management in a consultancy role. This has been Roche's management team for over a decade.

He will be learning from long-time friend and agent Andrew McQuaid as well as being able to put more focus into his Roca sports shop by opening a new branch in Galway.

Finally, Roche finished with: "There are other plans in the making, and I look forward to sharing more details soon.

"I thank you all for the incredible support I received during my cycling career."

Roche's cousin Dan Martin has also announced his retirement from the peloton at the end of the 2021 season.

Martin, winner of Tour de France stages an Monuments, calls time on his career after 14 seasons. 

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.