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Nicolas Roche looking forward to Dunshaughlin classic

Thursday, 14th August, 2014 6:05pm

Story by John Donohoe
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Nicolas Roche looking forward to Dunshaughlin classic

Nicolas Roche at the beginning of the Giro d'Italia in Belfast earlier this year.

Nicolas Roche looking forward to Dunshaughlin classic

Nicolas Roche at the beginning of the Giro d'Italia in Belfast earlier this year.

Cyclist Nicolas Roche is looking forward to returning to the roads where he won his first national championship when he leads off the Nicolas Roche Summer Classic from Dunshaughlin on Saturday.
“It was in Meath that I won my first championship in 2009, in Dunboyne, so I’m looking forward to a return to the area,” he told the Meath Chronicle this week. The French-born son of former champion cyclist Stephen Roche enjoyed many spins out to Meath when living for a period in Dublin, as he recalls there were good roads which were quiet enough to cycle comfortably on.
Now living in France, he has just finished a gruelling Tour de France and is preparing for Hamburg’s major event, the Vattenfall Cyclassic, next week.
Looking back on this year’s tour, which began in Britain, he said it was a race which saw many collisions that took the favourites out of the event, and while Vincenzo Nibali might not have been considered in the reckoning at the outset, he proved that he shouldn’t have been overlooked. He had won a stage in Sheffield early on, and had already won the Vuelta a Espana and the Giro d’Italia in recent years,
Roche himself said he sacrificed some of his own opportunities in this year’s Tour to help team mate on Team Tinkoff-Saxo, double stage winner, Polish rider, Rafal Majka, to stage success, as Rafal had done it for him last year and he had promised that he would do the same for Rafal if the need arose.
Roche the younger will be back in Ireland on Thursday of this week to take part in a charity event at Leopardstown Racecourse, when, on his bike, he takes on jockey Pat Smullen on a Dermot Weld horse in ‘The Beast v the Bike’ to raise funds for his under-18 development team in Ireland.
The leisure spins on Saturday take off from Dunshaughlin, where his uncle Laurence, now living in Summerhill, resided for many years, on Saturday 16th August, with three different routes - the family cycle of 12 km, and 60km and 100km routes.
The family spin is a simple route out and back the same road. Leaving Dunshaughlin, it heads out to Dunsany cross where there will be refreshments. It turns around and come back in the same route. The 60km route is designed to help beginners get started with leisure cycling. It is not completely flat, there are a few hills put in there to help you get out of your saddle. The route travels from Dunshaughlin towards Navan on the Navan road, turning towards Royal Tara Golf Club. The route goes over the Hill of Tara, Dunsany, Kiltale, Scurlogstown, Laracor, Summerhill, where there’s a break for refreshments, then out the Dunboyne Road, turning at Mullagh Cross to go back to Dunshaughlin.
The 100km route is designed for a more active cyclist as it is not completely flat, there are a few hills put in there to help you get out of your saddle. Similar to the 60k route as far as Summerhill, it then heads for Rathmolyon and Longwood, taking in a spin towards Enfield, before returning to Summerhill and continuing to Dunshaughlin.
The Marie Keating Charity, set up in memory of another former Dunshauglin resident, will benefit from the Meath Summer Classic. To register, see www.meath-summer-classic.com

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