Wednesday 21 March 2018

Cycling: Roche refuses to give up on top-10 finish in Dauphine after time trial dip

Gerard Cromwell

Nicolas Roche dropped out of the top 10 of the Criterium du Dauphine yesterday when he finished outside the top 40 in the 42km time trial in Grenoble.

Yesterday's time trial was won by HTC's German rider Tony Martin in a time of 55 minutes and 27 seconds. Despite riding most of the stage in the rain, the former FBD Ras winner was 11 seconds faster than Britain's Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and 43 seconds quicker than third-placed Edvald Boasson Hagen on the course that will be used for the penultimate time trial in this year's Tour de France.

"It was a really technical course because the road was wet," said Martin. "I quickly found my rhythm though, so I'm satisfied with my ride. It was a nice test and I'm really confident for the Tour de France time trial.

"But there will be other good riders riding the Tour too, especially Fabian Cancellara. I know I'll have to go a little faster in the Tour de France".

Roche was caught by Aussie specialist Cadel Evans, who started three minutes behind him, and lost 3min 31sec by the end of the stage, dropping down to 16th overall, 3min 26sec behind new race leader Wiggins.


"I just had one of my bad time trial days again," said Roche. "I seem to always have a few minutes of a dip in my time trials and if I knew what caused it I'd be world champion by now.

"It's definitely not the legs because I finished strong. It's probably the mental preparation because I start off okay and finish great but there were seven or eight kilometres in the middle where I don't know if I lose concentration or morale or what but I was going nowhere."

Roche can take heart from the fact that when Evans caught him he held him at the same distance for the rest of the stage.

"I kind of panicked on the drag in the middle but when he caught me my ego kicked in and I just thought 'no, no, no, I'm not losing any more time.' My dad came over to follow me in the time trial because it's important for the Tour that I get things right, so we'll analyse it now and try and see what's going wrong."

Although he has dropped out of the top 10, Roche is still aiming to move back up before the end of the week. "I definitely want to finish in the top 10 on GC. I'm not giving up," he insisted.

Fellow Irishman Dan Martin finished 90th, four minutes and 52 seconds behind the winner.

Wiggins holds a 1min and 11secs lead over Evans.

Criterium du Dauphine,

Live, Eurosport, 2.30

Irish Independent

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