Irish cyclist Nicolas Roche is to join the Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank team, leaving Ag2r.

Roche, who was team leader at Ag2r, with now expect to play a support role to former Tour de France winner Alberto Contador.

The Irish rider had been with Ag2r since 2009 but with his contract up at the end of the season, he has opted to make the switch to the Danish based team.

Roche will still compete with Ag2r at the upcoming three-week long Vuelta a Espana before making the switch.

In his column in the Irish Independent, Roche revealed that the prospect of working with Saxo Bank team director and 1996 Tour de France winner Bjarne Riis was a major factor in his decision.

"Riss told me that he wants to have the biggest team in the world against next year.

"He wants to be able to go to races with the most competitive team possible and thinks I will fit into the team perfectly.

"For years my dad has been telling anyone prepared to listen that I need a strong, charismatic directeur sportif who can take me in hand and had the knowledge and years of experience to help me progress.”

Roche also revealed that he hopes to be the team’s leading rider in at least one of the Grand Tours.

"I don’t think Contador will be riding all three Grand Tours so that may see me ride one of the other two, the Giro d’Italia or Vuelta a Espana as team leader. If not, I’m sure I will get my chance in other races."