Roche Fourth at Japan Cup as BMC Racing Team Season Comes to A Close21. octubre 2018, Utsunomiya (JAP) — Road Team
Nicolas Roche crossed the line in fourth place at the Japan Cup Road Race on the final day of racing for BMC Racing Team in 2018, and the last day that the BMC Racing Team jersey will appear in the peloton.
The peloton faced 14 laps of the 10.3 kilometer circuit and with no neutral zone, the race was on from the moment the flag dropped.
After multiple attempts to form the day’s breakaway, three riders eventually went clear and were able to gain a 1’30” advantage.
A mechanical problem for Roche, the team’s designated leader, on the second lap required Simon Gerrans, who was racing his last race as a professional, to give Roche his bike and by the time he was able to get a spare bike, his race was effectively over.
With Gerrans’ assistance, Roche was able to make it back to the bunch and from then, the race situation remained relatively calm with the leading trio holding their one-minute advantage.
The race started to heat up with five laps to go when the peloton increased the pace before a chase group, featuring Roche, jumped clear from the peloton and made contact with the breakaway with four laps to go.
As the pace took its toll, the group split to form a six-rider leading group with Roche and with a sizeable advantage on the peloton with two laps remaining, it was clear the winner would come from the select group.
Rob Power (Mitchelton-SCOTT) and Antwan Tolhoek (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) attacked on the final climb and eventually battled for the win, with Power taking the honours, while Roche and Matti Breschel (EF Education First-Drapac) were left to battle for the final podium spot with Roche settling for fourth.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“It was quite unfortunate at the start as someone rode into my derailleur so the last three gears weren’t working. I did a lap like that and then I tried to stop, with Simon Gerrans, to fix it but it wasn’t possible so Simon gave me his bike. That was the end of his race unfortunately but I appreciate his help. It was hard work to get back and after a lap I was able to go back to the race car and change the bike properly so then I had to get back to the front again.”
“The guys did a really good job for me today. Positioning was very important and Alberto, Joey, and Freddy spent the whole day making sure I was protected and in the top 15 or 20 places, as on every descent there were gaps. Then I had to make sure I was there in the move with four laps to go. There were a few attacks here and there and I followed the right move but when the two guys went on the last climb, I couldn’t follow and I stayed with Breschel, who eventually beat me in the sprint for third place.”
Allan Peiper, Sports Director:
“The guys did a really good effort and we had four riders still up there in the final, with Nicolas Roche in the front group in the last couple of laps. I think it was a really good showing and it was great for Nico to be up there in the six-rider breakaway at the end. There was good teamwork, especially from Simon Gerrans, who gave his bike to Nico on the second lap, as it was a good move to keep Nico in the race rather than waiting for us to fix the bike. So, it was a great job all round.”
Japan Cup Road Race
Utsunomiya > Utsunomiya (JAP)
Top 3: 1. Rob Power (Mitchelton-SCOTT), 2. Antwan Tolhoek (Team LottoNL-Jumbo), 3. Matti Breschel (EF Education First -Drapac)