Nationality: Irish
Date of birth: May 21, 1985
Height: 178cm
Weight: 70kg
Team: Team Sky

Nicolas Roche seems born to be a cyclist. Son of Stephen Roche, Ireland’s only Tour de France winner, Nicolas was also eligible for France through his mother, making him fluent in the unofficial language of the peloton. His cousin is fellow former Irish road race champion Dan Martin and his godfather is Vuelta a Espana, Paris-Roubaix and Milan-San Remo winner Sean Kelly. But that’s not to say success has come easily to Roche.

Roche turned professional in 2004, coming third in the Irish national road race championship at the age of 19, before chalking up his first win as a pro at the 2006 Tour de l’Avenir and impressing from the breakaway at that year’s World Championships in Salzburg. Off the back of those performances, Roche signed with Credit-Agricole for 2007, finishing 122nd at the Giro in his first Grand Tour, winning the Irish national time trial championship the same year. The Irishman finished a remarkable 13th in his second Grand Tour, the 2008 Vuelta a Espana, just 1:45 off the top ten.

He moved to Ag2r-La Mondiale the following year, winning the Irish national championship road race before making his debut at the Tour de France, where he finished a solid 23th on GC. Roche had a string of impressive results in 2010, finishing tenth in Paris-Nice, fifth in the Volta a Catalunya in preperation for the Tour de France, coming 15th, and the Vuelta a Espana, where he finished sixth, after second-placed Ezequiel Mosquera’s result was annulled.

Despite early season injuries, Roche finished 26th at the Tour and 16th at the Vuelta in 2011, further establishing himself as one of the top GC riders on the World Tour.

Roche left Tinkoff-Saxo for Team Sky after the 2014 season and soon became an integral part of the British team’s Grand Tour challenge, finishing as Sky’s third highest-placed rider (35th) as Froome won his second Tour de France and finishing 26th overall during Froome’s abortive attempt at a Tour-Vuelta double, taking stage 18 in the process.

Despite being seen as mainly as a domestique, Roche has three top-ten and seven top-20 finishes in Grand Tours, many as part of a significantly weaker Ag2r La Mondiale team than Saxo-Tinkoff or Team Sky’s current line-ups. Roche looks set to work for Chris Froome once again in 2016 as the Englishman chases a third Tour de France.

Major results: stage 18 Vuelta a Espana 2015 | Route du Sud 2014 | stage 2 Vuelta a Espana 2013

Nicolas Roche, Tour of Britain 2014 team presentation

Irishman Nicolas Roche joins British WorldTour team Sky, along with Andy Fenn, Leopold Konig, Lars Petter Nordhaug and Wout Poels