Nicolas Roche hopes illness does not curtail season

‘While I am getting better day by day, I’m just not healthy enough to get on the bike’

Nicolas Roche has been forced to pull out of the Vuelta a España due to illness. Photograph: Inpho

Nicolas Roche has been forced to pull out of the Vuelta a España due to illness. Photograph: Inpho

 

Recently forced to forfeit the upcoming Vuelta a España due to illness, Nicolas Roche has said that the sickness was more serious than he originally thought.

On August 12th Roche stated via Twitter that he had picked up pneumonia and suggested it may have been from bad air conditioning at the Rio Olympics. He competed in the road race there on August 6th.

“Pneumonia sounds awful. But I just though that it was a big flu that after a few days, maybe a week or so, I could train again,” he said. “But it’s a lot more serious than what I thought and hoped.

“Now it’s been about ten to twelve days that I am sick.”

He told the Irish Times that he has been undergoing further examination to try to ascertain the specific illness he has.

“I did an extra blood test yesterday,” he stated on Thursday. “I will have the results on Wednesday or Thursday of next week. They will be able to determine the exact pneumonia that I had.

“There is one that has about ten days incubation, and one that has a 24 hour incubation. If it was the first one, that means I got it before [THE OLYMPICS]. If it’s the second one, it was in Rio.”

Significantly, he confirmed that the first strain would be Legionnaires’ disease.

The illness is one which has a mortality rate of five to ten percent. It is caused by a bacteria found in fresh water, and can be transmitted through air conditioning systems and showers.

Whatever the strain, he confirmed that he is gradually feeling better. However he is disappointed to miss the Vuelta a España, which starts this weekend.

It is his favourite race on the calendar and is one in which he has won two stages in the past and also finished fifth and sixth overall.

“It was a real blow,” he said. “I was all year preparing for one month. I did lots of work and sacrifices for nothing. Anyway sickness and injury is part of the game, but I just had too many this year.”

He told the Irish Times on Thursday that he had not been given a green light to resume training. However on Friday afternoon he said that things had changed in this regard, saying that he potentially would be able to do a to hour easy ride this weekend.

Roche competed in the road race in Rio, finishing 29th. He had been ninth in the previous weekend’s Clasica San Sebastian and it now seems possible that the illness could have been in his system at the time of the road race.

His biggest priority is to recover as soon as possible. After that, racing again before the end of the season is a goal, although the chances of that are not known.

“I hope that by the end of next week I will have a better idea if I can compete or not,” he said. “I hope I can race. Even if it’s only for one race. I do not want to call it the end of the season yet. But it’s more severe than what I thought last week.”

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