Wednesday 23 October 2019

Nicolas Roche: 'My top cycling routes in the country'

Nicolas Roche
Nicolas Roche

When I decided to have a leisure cycle in Ireland this year and bring former world champion Philippe Gilbert over to the ride, I wanted to run it on a route that was spectacular and would show Ireland off a bit as well as being a bit challenging.

Although I'm based in Monaco at the moment, I often come home for and train here for short stints during the year.

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My favourite spin in Ireland is very close to the one that we're going to do on the longer event in the Project Series Cycle on Sunday October 20, except that I would start from my grandparent's house in Dundrum, go through Firhouse into the back of Blessington, around the lake in Lagan, and into Hollywood before heading for the the Wicklow Gap.

I'll usually have a coffee down in Laragh before heading up Glenmacnass.

I love the Glenmacnass climb because you can see the waterfall on the way up.

When you reach the waterfall, you're in the trees for a bit before the road opens out into almost complete wilderness up to the top.

If I'm short on time, I'd go straight into Glencree afterwards but there are times when I could go through Glencree junction three or four times on the same spin.

Normally I'd go right, go down the descent and back up where the Guinness Lake is, into the back of Roundwood, into Enniskerry and home.

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Enniskerry village

The spin usually takes about four hours, depending on which way I go.

Sally Gap is another of my favourite climbs and I'd often head into Firhouse, past the golf course into the back of Blessington, go up Sally Gap and then straight down towards the lake.

I love that area where you go past the Guinness Lake, the scenery is no nice around there.

Wicklow Gap from that side is not as spectacular as coming from Laragh, which is the way we'll be going up it in the event and it should be really beautiful if we get the weather.

READ MORE: Nicolas Roche: 'How I bounced back from the biggest injury of my career'

Off the bike, I like the area too, especially around Avoca and Enniskerry.

I love the view from Powerscourt over the Sugarloaf and I've spent hours wandering around the Handweavers shop and gardens there.

I've probably eaten a few too many cream buns in the cafe there too.

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