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With a powerful attack 10km from the finish, Roche soloed to victory in the Irish championships; Brammeier and O'Loughlin completed the podium

Photo: Sirotti

MATTHEW BRAMMEIER

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NICOLAS ROCHE

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27.06.2016 @ 01:43 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

A few days after winning the time trial, Nicolas Roche (Sky) again proved to be in outstanding form by living up to the tag being the big favourite at the Irish Road Race Championships. The Sky rider attackd from a five-rider group on the final climb and held off his chasers to take a second title seven years after the first one. Matt Brammeier (Dimension Data) and Michael O'Loughlin (WIGGINS) finished second and third respectively.

 

A few days ago, Nicolas Roche was informed that he was one of the big names to miss out of the Team Sky team for the Tour de France. Since then he has done everything possible to prove to the team management that their decision was wrong.

 

Earlier this week Roche claimed a second Irish time trial title and today he made his first double when he also added a second road race win to the one he took in 2009. After a day on the offensive, he dropped a group containing most of the Irish elite before soling across the line.

 

The race was held on a 188km course in Kilcullen and it was aggressive right from the start. Roche was in two early moves before he joined forces with Daire Feeley (Team iTap), defending champion Damien Shaw (An Post Chain Reaction), Eddie Dunbar (Axeon Hagens Berman), James Curry (Banbridge CC), Cathal Moynihan (Manor West Hotel, Tralee/iBike) and Matt Brammeier (Dimension Data) to form a seven-rider group. Moynihan and Curry were left behind but instead Mark Downey (VC Toucy) and later Connor McConvey (An Post Chain Reaction)and Michael O’Loughlin (Team WIGGINS) made it across to make it 8 riders in the lead.

 

For several laps, a chase group with Jack Wilson (An Post Chain Reaction), Mark Dowling (ASEA-Wheelworx), Darragh O’Mahony (O’Leary’s Stone Kanturk CC), Chris McGlinchey (Chain Reaction Cycles) and Ryan Mullen (Cannondale) stayed around one minute behind the leaders but like the rest of the peloton, they would never make the junction. With two laps to go, they were more than a minute behind and the gap went out to more than three minutes with 30km to go, making it clear that the front octet was going to decide the race.

 

Feeley, Dunbar and Downey were dropped, leaving five riders to fight it out for the win and it was Shaw who was the main aggressor. However, Roche turned out to be the strongest when he attacked on a climb with 10km to go. He immediately got an advantage and managed to hold off his chasers, crossing the line with 34 seconds to spare. Further back, O'Loughlin made a big attack to take silver but he was reeled in and instead he had to settle for bronze after a sprint that was won by Brammeier.

 

It is still unclear when Roche will ride his first race in his new jersey.

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