Nicolas Roche was born on 3 July 1984. He is the son of former cycling champion Stephen Roche and his former wife, Lydia, nephew of former cycling professional Lawrence Roche and cousin of 2008 Irish road champion Daniel Martin.

He turned professional at the end of 2004, with team Cofidis and became one of the youngest Pro-Tour racers.

As his father is Irish and his mother French, Roche had dual nationality as an amateur. In early 2005, Roche was told by French officials to choose between his two nationalities. Roche declared for France as he was planning to spend the rest of his life in France.

The loss of Roche was a blow to Irish cycling, as he had won the 2002 Junior Tour of Ireland and finished third in the 2004 Irish Elite championship.

However, six months later, the UCI and Cycling Ireland told Roche he was given incorrect information, and that he could compete for Ireland and keep his two nationalities, which he did.

His first win as a professional was a stage in the 2004 Tour de l'Avenir, a race known as a mini-Tour de France for riders under 23. He wore the yellow jersey for two days and finished 10th overall.

In 2007, Roche rode the Giro d'Italia. In June that year he won his first Elite national title, the Time Trial in Dungarvan.

He came also fourth in the Road Race Championship. Due to injury, Roche withdrew from the Tour of Ireland and missed the World Championship.

In 2008, he was sixth in the Tour Ivoirien de la Paix; 15th in Clásica Internacional de Alcobendas in Spain and won a stage; and seventh of the Tour de Wallonie; and competed in the Beijing Olympics road-race. Roche finished 13th in the Vuelta a Espana that year.

Roche won the Irish National Road Race title in 2009, and rode the Tour de France for the first time the following month, finishing in 23rd-place overall.

In 2010, Roche came fifth in the Volta y Catalunya and was chosen to lead the the Ag2r-La Mondiale team in the Tour de France. He finished 23rd in Le Tour. And went on to finish 7th in La Vuelta a Espana.

In 2011, Roche finished 26th in Le Tour and 16th in La Vuelta.

The Olympic road race takes place on 28 July. Start time is 9.55am.