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“At the moment I still need to find form, continue working and I’ll be focusing on helping the team and our captains in the best shape. We have some riders who are in peak shape in these races and it will be very important to gi...

Photo: Tinkoff-Saxo

CHRISTOPHER JUUL-JENSEN

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DANIELE BENNATI

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KARSTEN KROON

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MANUEL BOARO

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MATTI BRESCHEL

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MICHAEL MØRKØV

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NICOLAS ROCHE

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ROMAN KREUZIGER

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TOUR OF OMAN

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15.02.2014 @ 15:37 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Nicolas Roche will make his season debut on Tuesday when he lines up at the 6-day Tour of Oman. Having been set back by injury in the off-season, the Irishman will play a support role for Roman Kreuziger who will be targeting the GC in the mountainous race.

 

Nicolas Roche is ready for his 2014 debut that will kick off a campaign that should end up with a strong performance in the Giro d'Italia and some strong support work for Alberto Contador in the Tour de France. The Irishman will start his season in the 6-day Tour of Oman which takes off on Tuesday.

 

However, Roche takes to the start with limited ambitions after a knee injury set him back during the off-season.

 

“It’s been a difficult winter after being injured in early December," he said. "But I have spent the last month in Gran Canaria. Firstly with the team and I stayed an extra 20 days after that to make sure I could optimize training in January in order to catch up. This way, I could avoid loosing even more training time caused by bad European weather and risk crashing or getting sick.”

 

In the Omani race, Roche will be riding in support of Roman Kreuziger who us targeting the GC in the mountainous race which also marks the 2014 debut for the Czech. Sprinters and classics riders Daniele Bennati, Michael Mørkøv and Matti Breschel will look to perform in the flat stages while the team is completed by veteran Karsten Kroon, time trial specialist Manuele Boaro, and Christopher Juul Jensen.

 

Due to his setbacks, Roche doesn't harbour any personal ambitions for the race.

 

“At the moment I still need to find form, continue working and I’ll be focusing on helping the team and our captains in the best shape," he said. We have some riders who are in peak shape in these races and it will be very important to give them a maximum of support.

 

“In the Spring, I know I’ll will be going to do Tour of Oman, Eroica, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milano-Sanremo. That’s the plan right now.”

 

With the Giro d'Italia kicking off in Belfast, Roche will be co-leader with Rafal Majka in the Italian grand tour. Asked to pinpoint the highlight of his season, the Irishman had no doubt.

 

“I’d have to say I’m looking very much forward to be doing the Giro in my home country of Ireland. It’s a very special occasion and probably a dream come true for most riders launching a Grand Tour on home soil. And as always, the Tour de France is at the top of list of races to be looking forward to.”

 

The Tour of Oman runs for six days and was last year won by Chris Froome who will be back to defend his title.

 

Tinkoff-Saxo for the Tour of Oman:

Roman Kreuziger, Nicolas Roche, Matti Breschel, Daniele Bennati, Michael Mørkøv, Manuele Boaro, Karsten Kroon and Christopher Juul Jensen

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