Conor Dunne finishes first Grand Tour, Nicolas Roche his 18th

Posted on: September 11th, 2017

Conor Dunne finishes first Vuelta, Nicolas Roche completes 18th Grand Tour

Conor Dunne, above, and Nicolas Roche fought their different battles during the past three weeks at La Vuelta. Dunne was part of an Aqua Blue Sport team that won a stage in its first Grand Tour. Roche would place 14th overall (Photo: Karen M Edwards)


Conor Dunne, Nicolas Roche bring it home at Vuelta


Conor Dunne has finished his first Grand Tour while Nicolas Roche clocked up his 18th Grand Tour finish at the Vuelta yesterday.

Dunne was involved in a battle for survival through the race, as many debutants endure. But he showed great fight in getting up the road on two stages when he could.

He went clear in an escape group on stage 9 and later on stage 11.

The lessons he’ll take from this race will stand him in great stead for the next few years. And still aged just 25-years-old he has plenty of time to put those lessons into action.

In Aqua Blue Sport he has found a great opportunity to get to the next level and into some of the biggest races in the world.

This Vuelta will hopefully prove the start of a long Grand Tour career and one where his aggression may bring big prizes as he gets a bit stronger.

He filled the final place overall but that matters little. Of the 198 riders who started out three weeks ago, just 158 crossed the finish line in Madrid yesterday.


Conor Dunne finishes first Vuelta, Nicolas Roche completes 18th Grand Tour


And Conor Dunne was one of them. It is a significant journey for a man who was riding the UK circuit last year.

For Roche, this race has been less significant as it was his seventh Vuelta. He’s won stages in the past and was 6th overall in 2013 and 5th two years later.

And against his past record and aspirations going into this race, he leaves with disappointment over his general classification placing.

He was looking for a strong overall ride. And while his final placing of 14th was far from shabby he wanted at least a top 10.

The Team BMC Irishman rode very well for the first two weeks and went so close to taking the leader’s jersey; missing out on time bonuses on stage 3.

He was right in the thick of the fight until stage 14 when he endured a bad day on one of the hardest stages of the race. And that effectively brought an end to his general classification challenge.

However, he then went on the attack on Friday’s stage 19 and on Saturday’s stage 20. And he had attacked on stage 10 and taken time on his rivals.

He will now ride the Worlds for Ireland and will also take in several races in Italy before the season is out.

As expected Chris Froome (Team Sky) ran out the winner of the Vuelta yesterday. He won it well; beating Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) by 2:15 and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) by 2:51.

He also won two stages as well as the points classification and the combined jersey. Yesterday it was Matteo Trentin of QuickStep who won the stage into Madrid.

It was his fourth stage victory of this Vuelta and the sixth for his team.

But there was no doubting the man of the race; Froome claiming the race in his sixth attempt, after being 2nd three times and just five weeks after claiming the Tour de France.


Stage 21: Arroyomolinos-Madrid (117.6km)

1 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors 3:06:25
2 Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ
3 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb
4 Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Cannondale-Drapac
5 Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
6 Magnus Cort (Den) Orica-Scott
7 Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
8 Sacha Modolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
9 Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
10 Daniel Hoelgaard (Nor) FDJ
11 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
12 Juan José Lobato (Spa) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
13 Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
14 Loic Vliegen (Bel) BMC Racing Team
15 Julien Duval (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
43 Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team 0:00:14
151 Conor Dunne (Irl) Aqua Blue Sport 0:02:37


Final General Classification

1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 82:30:02
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:02:15
3 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin 0:02:51
4 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:03:15
5 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 0:03:18
6 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky 0:06:59
7 Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac 0:08:27
8 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team 0:09:13
9 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:11:18
10 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:15:50
11 Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-Scott 0:16:46
12 Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates 0:17:41
13 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:21:41
14 Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing Team 0:22:00
15 Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:22:59
158 Conor Dunne (Irl) Aqua Blue Sport 5:16:23