Nicolas Roche wins one for all the Franco-Irish out there

A huge win for Ireland/France with Nicolas Roche taking stage two of the Vuelta. Ireland and France have rarely taken such a big win simultaneously.

Why do I say this? Because Nicolas Roche, son of Stephen, is actually pretty French. UK cycling coverage somewhat glosses over this, but he really is. He went to school in Ireland, but was born in France and has spent most of his life there.

He even speaks English with a hint of French grammar, which is really bizarre. This is how he responded to his win:

“I’ve been dreaming for this moment since I came to the cycling.”

He’ll be thinking for more wins now.

The other guys

Janez Brajkovic lost a bunch of time, which hopefully means I won’t have to carefully type out the letters of his name again this race. His team-mate Vincenzo Nibali takes over the race lead. He finished in the main bunch of climbers, but he lost a very small amount of time to a few people.

His main rivals, Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez, finished two seconds ahead of him, 12 seconds down on Roche, while Domenico Pozzovivo showed early climbing form, finishing eight seconds ahead, six seconds down on Roche. Pozzovivo has also presumably become AG2R’s team leader as Carlos Betancur lost 11 minutes odd. As I said yesterday, he hasn’ t been well.

The other big loser was Sergio Henao, who finished 2m41s down. I’d guess that Rigoberto Uran will by Sky’s leader as a consequence.

Stage three

Again, it’s flat with an uphill finish. Here’s the profile. The finishing kick is shorter than yesterday, however – probably only about 4km and not too steep.