Saturday 20 October 2018

'With this and not finishing the Giro, 2018 may be worst year of my career'

Tuesday, August 7

Nicolas Roche. Photo: Stephen McMahon/SPORTSFILE
Nicolas Roche. Photo: Stephen McMahon/SPORTSFILE

Nicolas Roche

As the Tour of Poland peloton heads into the mountains today, I'm sitting in Munich Airport waiting for a flight home.

After being sick for two days, the fact that I hadn't vomited during yesterday's third stage meant that I thought things were getting better and that I'd be able to get some food into me last night, have a good sleep, and recover enough to at least get through the first mountain stage reasonably comfortably.

Feeling a bit better, on last night (Monday) I ate a bit more rice than previous days to make sure I had enough energy for today and, although I was pretty fatigued after riding a couple of days without proper food, I went to bed hopeful that there would be big improvement by the time I woke up this morning.

Things didn't go to plan, though, and within two hours I was back in the bathroom in agony.

With my stomach in spasm, I called the team doctor in between bouts of vomiting and he came in and gave me medicine to try and settle things down. Unfortunately, the medicine came back up and the doctor was back with me again a couple of hours later.

This morning, at about 9.0, he was back again to see how I was doing.

At that point my head was spinning, I had a temperature and I was so dehydrated that he wouldn't let me take the start.

So, after an hour's drive to Krakow for a flight to Munich, I'm sitting with my bags waiting for the next plane to Nice.

In fairness, the doctor made the right decision. There was no way I was going to get across four first category mountains after not having held any food down for three days.

Also, pulling out and going home gives me more time to get healthy before my next race - the four-day Arctic Race in Norway next Wednesday.

Between this and not finishing the Giro, I can't help but feel that, unless something drastically changes, 2018 could well be the worst year of my career. So far, nothing seems to have gone right for me.

The only good thing about having no racing in between the Giro and Poland was that I had loads of time to get ready for racing again. And I was looking forward to Poland.

On paper, the stages seemed suited to me, with punchy 3km or 4km climbs most days.

HAPPY

I was happy with my condition and was looking forward to racing and to reminding people that I'm still a good bike rider.

At the moment, I'm on the team's long list for the Vuelta a Espana - my favourite race of the year.

The selection will be made by the team pretty soon and missing out on Poland means one less opportunity to shine, so the Arctic Race is now going to be very important for me.

Before that, though, I have to get over this sickness, take four or five days of being really cautious with my food, taking it easy and getting ready.

Norway is usually freezing but they have a water shortage there at the moment due to the unusually warm weather.

I don't normally do well in the cold, so hopefully the heatwave will last a few more days.

Irish Independent

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