Saturday 24 February 2018

Nicolas Roche: Everyone knows there are not that many opportunities left

Nicolas Roche's Tour de France diary

Team Sky out for a training spin in Carcassonne with their new Jagaur team car during the second rest day of the Tour de France. Photo: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images for Jaguar
Team Sky out for a training spin in Carcassonne with their new Jagaur team car during the second rest day of the Tour de France. Photo: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images for Jaguar

Nicolas Roche

Monday July 21 – Rest Day: Carcassonne

Although we had a day off today, I had an 8.30 wake-up call this morning for the usual anti-doping control before going down to breakfast.

Afterwards I met up with the Mohan family from Bergerac for a chat and a few photos before going training with the team at 11.0.

Before the spin, I donned a new pair of cycling shoes as my other ones had been through a few crashes in the last couple of months.

Although I could feel it was time for a change recently, because my position was perfect and I felt comfortable, I'm always a bit reluctant to change shoes in the middle of a race.

My new shoes, however, had already been set up and checked at home and as soon as I set off this morning I knew I had made the right decision. Power metre manufacturer SRM also gave me their new prototype PC8 to test on the spin and I have to say I was impressed.

While it still records the usual cadence, distance, temperature, kilojoules produced, power and speed, the modernised metre also incorporates a GPS to track training rides and has a nice new digital screen.

Now that it's WiFi and Bluetooth compatible, it will be even quicker to download my training files to my computer, which is an added bonus.

I did an hour and a quarter on the bike with the team before arriving back at the hotel, but as it was a nice morning, myself and former Danish champion Michael Morkov decided to do another few kilometres and rode 20 minutes further.

Here we found a nice little village to stop in for a quick coffee before the 20-minute spin back. After a light lunch, us riders sat around talking among ourselves about the rest of the Tour and our plans for the next few days.

When team manager Bjarne and the other directeurs heard us, they soon came over and gave their input and it turned into an unofficial team meeting. This afternoon I caught up with my friends Angelo and Jef and also got round to doing some of the everyday stuff that seems to escape you when you live in the Tour bubble.

At Tinkoff-Saxo the team generously pays for each rider's wife or girlfriend to come to the final stage of the Tour in Paris, so I was getting that organised today as well as booking some flights back to Ireland for another race after the Tour.

Strange as it may seem, that race is against a horse trained by Dermot Weld and due to be ridden by Irish jockey Pat Smullen.

The Beast v Bike night in Leopardstown Racecourse on August 14 is being held to raise funds for my junior (U-18) development team in Ireland, to keep them going next year and hopefully help them get a bit more experience of racing abroad.

As well as the races the evening includes a meal, music and a question and answer session afterwards and there are still tables available for anyone interested in a good night out.

After the usual trip to the massage table and the body therapist, this evening was spent chilling out and trying to relax before the last few days of this Tour.

With six days left, the chances of winning a stage in this Tour are getting slimmer and slimmer.

Only a few can say they're going to win on the Champs Elysees on Sunday and fewer still can bank on winning the penultimate stage time trial.


With a flat stage before that, realistically there are only three mountain days where a breakaway might stay away to the finish.

Everyone who hasn't done anything on the Tour knows there are not many opportunities out there now. There are basically three days left for a lot of the riders in this Tour to try and win a stage.

The next three days are tough climbing days, but the Pyrenean climbs seem to suit me better than the Alps as they're a bit shorter and steeper.

It would be nice if I could catch another breakaway and get another opportunity to have a go on a stage. It's going to be tough, though.

TOUR DE FRANCE, LIVE, EUROSPORT, 1.15pm/ ITV4, 2.00pm/TG4 1.10pm

Irish Independent

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