Referencing the team’s aggressive approach as a factor in his decision, Nicolas Roche has confirmed that he will move from Team Sky to the BMC Racing Team in 2017.
The announcement is the latest to be made on August 1, the first day when contract changes can be communicated under UCI rules.
Roche is the Irish time trial and road race champion and recently turned 32 years of age. He is opting for a new squad after two years with Team Sky, and said he is looking forward to the move.
“I’m super excited because BMC Racing Team is a team that rides with a lot of the characteristics that I like,” he said. “They’re always up the front, riding with aggression and trying to make an exciting race. I think I’ll enjoy the aggressive style of racing.
“Looking ahead to the 2017 season, my main role will be to really support Richie Porte and Tejay van Garderen in their general classification ambitions, and hopefully I’ll have a good go at the Vuelta a Espãna.”
The latter has long been a favourite of his. He won stages in 2013 and 2015 and has finished fifth and sixth overall in the past.
BMC Racing Team General Manager Jim Ochowicz believes the signing is a significant one.
“Nicolas Roche is a fantastic addition to BMC Racing Team,” he said. “Nicolas brings a wealth of experience and is exactly the sort of rider we are looking for to support our Grand Tour ambitions and work for his own personal objectives. A lot of our goals are centred around Grand Tours and we felt we needed an additional rider who could bring us experience in that field.
“We are looking forward to a big season again in 2017 and I think Nicolas will be an asset for us, as he has proven in the past. Nicolas is a rider who brings a lot of dimensions with his portfolio, including Grand Tour stage wins and top ten finishes in the General Classification, so we are thrilled to welcome him to the BMC Racing Team family.”
Roche is the first Irishman to sign for the squad. As per its usual policy, the team has not indicated the length of the contract.