Thursday 19 October 2017

'The only time you have to yourself is in the loo'

Giro D'Italia Diary: Monday, May 19, Rest Day (Modela)

Nicolas Roche, Tinkoff Saxo, Russia
Nicolas Roche, Tinkoff Saxo, Russia

Nicolas Roche

Today's rest day started off a bit earlier than anticipated with a UCI anti-doping officer knocking on my door. Although 7.45 was bit earlier than I'd intended to get up, it wasn't too bad and I got up, got dressed, grabbed my passport and followed him down the hall.

As I don't have a photo on my racing licence, I used my passport to prove my identity, filled in the forms and waited for a few minutes before I got my blood test done in a spare room.

While the whole team were tested this morning, most of the guys went back to bed afterwards. But once I'm up, I'm up, so I went down and had a cappuccino and a slice of toast with the mechanics before going back up to my room and reading for an hour.

This morning we had some guests from our team's Danish sponsors, Saxo Bank, come out on our training spin with us. Although we had a day off racing, it's always important to get out and turn the legs on a rest day. We rode for an hour and a half, had a coffee and a chat with the guests and went back to the hotel.

I'm rooming on my own at this Giro so after lunch I had bit of a nap for an hour or so before watching a bit of 'American Hustle' on the laptop, although I found it a bit hard to get into and switched it off before the end.

Because we got a new sponsor earlier this year, some of our race clothing was a bit late arriving and we got some extra rain gear in Ireland and some summer stuff when we transferred to Bari last Monday.

In last year's Vuelta I only used a couple of pairs of shorts and socks but thanks to the bad weather and a crash, I've gone through double that already on this Giro.

I rounded up about 15 pairs of team socks, any other spare kit I had for the rest of the season and a bottle of wine I'd bought in Sicily and put them in a bag I planned to give my girlfriend to bring home with her when she drives to the race in Savona tomorrow.

On every other day you're surrounded by 200 riders on the bike, dozens of journalists and hundreds of fans off it and even when you go to dinner it's with the team and maybe even other teams. There are always people around and sometimes it feels like the only time you have to yourself on a Grand Tour is when you go to the loo.

While some of my team-mates had their wives and kids here in the hotel and hung out in the lobby a bit more, I spent most of the day on my own and it was great. The rest of the day was basically spent lying in bed reading or watching TV, trying to recover as much as possible.

I was looking forward to seeing my girlfriend at the finish tomorrow until this afternoon, when I had a quick look at the road book and realised that we don't finish in Savona until Wednesday.

I don't know how I made the mistake but she had her bags packed and everything so I had to call her and explain. We had a bit of a laugh about it but I don't think she would have been too impressed if she'd gone to Savona a day early and there was no sign of a bike race.

One good thing about getting my stages mixed up, though, is that instead of a seriously hard mountain stage, we have a mainly flat day to Salsomaggiore tomorrow. Every cloud has a silver lining.

GIRO D'ITALIA,

LIVE, EUROSPORT, 1.30

Irish Independent

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