Thursday 26 April 2018

Nicolas Roche: 'Realistically, I've only got three chances to get in a breakaway now'

Giro D'Italia Diary

Anyone who hasn't won a stage will be trying to get up the road, while the overall contenders will be hoping to attack each other on the last climbs,
Anyone who hasn't won a stage will be trying to get up the road, while the overall contenders will be hoping to attack each other on the last climbs,

Nicolas Roche

Monday, May 22 Rest Day: Corvara

As our team chef had gone up the climb to watch yesterday's stage and then lost his car keys, we got a text after the stage to tell us that he wouldn't get to the hotel until later and dinner would be around 9.0.

I'd finished my stage, been back to my hotel and had massage by 5.30, so I sent a text around asking if we should maybe give the chef a day off and just go and have our dinner in the hotel restaurant instead of the team kitchen truck for a change.

Everyone thought it was a good idea, so later on 20 of us took our places at a massive square table, where my young American team-mate Ian Boswell got a bit of stick from myself and Philip Deignan for his ride in the time trial.

Boz is an avid user of Strava, a cycling app which lets you time yourself against other riders over various segments of road, usually up hills or mountains.

When we go anywhere on training camps, the first thing Boz does is look up the local Strava segments to find them and give them a go and try and get his name on top of the leaderboard.

Although Boz did a very good ride on the stage, finishing 15th, we told him we expected more of him because with his Strava experience he is the most practiced mountain time triallist on the team and that he would have to do it again because 14 riders are now ahead of him on the leaderboard for the climb.

After a good night's sleep I woke this morning to the rain lashing at my window and was thankful that today was a rest day on this Giro and we didn't have to race in it for once.

Although we had no racing, we still needed to do some sort of ride to remind our bodies that the race isn't over and stop the legs from stiffening up, so after breakfast the mechanics set our turbo trainers up inside the hotel.

Like most riders, I see turbo trainers as instruments of torture and don't like using them unless I have to, like today when it was lashing rain and there was no need to get wet.


My Spanish team-mate David Lopez, however, likes them even less and was the only one brave enough to wrap up and go out for a spin in the rain.

Christian Knees almost made it outside, donning a jacket and setting his turbo trainer up under the hotel porch in order to get a bit of fresh air, while he spun his legs without getting wet.

For the rest of us, the mechanics had set up our bikes up in front of a big screen in the hotel's cinema room.

As I was first one down at around 10.30, I had control of the remote control so Philip, Boz, Sebastian Heano and I watched the highlights of Rory McIlroy's Irish Open victory on Sky Sports as we twiddled a low gear and spun our legs for an hour and a half.

After a quick shower we came back down and told the mechanics what wheels and gears we wanted for tomorrow's mountain stage before heading for lunch and massage.

Afterwards I went down to check out the hotel's health spa and made the fins of the day.

After spending 20 minutes in the sauna in the hope that it might unblock my nose and chest a bit, I discovered the spa's relaxation room.

While the other rooms were pretty crowded there was nobody in there so I lay back on the lounger and chilled out, listening to the calming music.

One of the things about being on stage races or training camps is that you are never alone, you never get time to really switch off, so it was great to have a bit of peace.

Nobody came near me for an hour and for the first time on this race I actually feel relaxed now, although I know it won't last long.

Tomorrow the racing begins again with another tough mountain stage taking in three big climbs on the way to the summit finish in Andolo.

With two long flat stages coming after that, we hit the mountains again on Friday and Saturday, which means I realistically have only three chances to get in the breakaways now.

The problem is that everyone else is in the same boat.

Anyone who hasn't won a stage will be trying to get up the road, while the overall contenders will be hoping to attack each other on the last climbs,

It's definitely not going to be easy.

Giro d'Italia,

Live, Eurosport, 1.30

Irish Independent

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