Nicolas Roche at the Giro d'Italia.

Nicolas Roche calls it a career

Nicolas Roche has announced his retirement.

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After 17 years as a top-division pro, Nicolas Roche announced his retirement on Monday.

The 37-year-old Irishman said in a statement that Sunday’s Irish national championship road race was the final race of his lengthy career.

“This is both the hardest and easiest decision I have ever had to make,” Roche said. “I have been lucky to spend time with some of the best cyclists in the world, past and present. We often discussed when is 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. You will be ready to try something else, have new challenges and new goals. I never believed them until that day arrived in August for me. For the first time in my life I woke up one morning before a race knowing it was time to do something else.”

The son of Stephen Roche, who won the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France, and the World Championships in 1987, Nicolas Roche enjoyed a lengthy career of his own, achieving his best results in climber-friendly races. He got his start at Cofidis, racing his first full season as a pro in 2005, and then moved over to AG2R La Mondiale, where he raced from 2009 to 2012. Next, he spent two seasons Saxo-Tinkoff, two seasons at Sky, and two seasons at BMC, before spending his last three years with the DSM organization.

Over the course of his career, he won two stages at the Vuelta a España and twice finished in the top 10 overall at the Spanish Grand Tour. He also spent time in the red jersey at the 2013 and 2019 editions of the race. In addition, he took a GC win at the Route du Sud in 2014 and a WorldTour-level victory in a stage at the Tour of Beijing, along with plenty of other solid showings in one-week races. In the later years of his career, he spent more and more time working as a support rider for other GC leaders, and he was part of the Sky squad that helped propel Chris Froome to his second Tour title in 2015. In all, he made 24 Grand Tour starts, finishing all but two of those races.

Roche said that he plans to stay connected to the world of cycling after leaving the pro peloton behind.

“Ever since that day in August, I wake up excited about the possibilities waiting for me in this new chapter of my life. Of course, cycling is such a big part of my life and I will stay involved in the sport. I look forward to taking up a consultancy role in Trinity Sports Management, my management company of over a decade. Learning the business side of the sport from my good friend of 30 years Andrew McQuaid is a natural fit. I will continue to develop my Roca sports shop in Ireland and soon open a new store in Galway.

“There are other plans in the making, and I look forward to sharing more details soon.

“I thank you all for the incredible support that I received during my cycling career.”

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