Team Type 1-Sanofi‘s Javier Megias attacks through the Tour de Suisse rain
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Team Type 1-Sanofi‘s Javier Megias attacks through the Tour de Suisse rain

by Ben Atkins at 6:46 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de Suisse
 
Diabetic rider keeps control of his blood glucose as he endures the wet, cold conditions

javier megiasJavier Megias is one of the Team Type 1-Sanofi’s riders who actually suffers from type 1 diabetes, but that did not stop him from taking part in the main breakaway of the fourth stage of the Tour de Suisse today. As a diabetic but, most importantly, as a Spaniard the 28-year-old was not keen on the wet conditions experienced, and he was not pleased with the sight when he opened his hotel room curtains this morning.

“Raining, why does it have to be raining?”  he said. “I don't like it when it's cold, and I'm no good when it rains. I'm Spanish, I'm from Madrid, where it's hot. I like to race when it's hot.”

As a diabetic, Megias has to control his blood glucose continually, and periodically take insulin or eat carbohydrates to manage the disease; this becomes all the more difficult under conditions like those experienced today.

"When it's cold your body works more, so you have to eat more,” he explained. “Today I had paninos i my pockets, I think six of them, plus three gels, one bar. I didn't take a bag from the feed zone because three years ago it was raining and cold at a stage in Catalunya and I broke my finger trying to take a bag. I can't grab things quickly very well any more.”

The Tour de Suisse has been visited by rain on all but the first day, but today’s downpours were the worst of the race so far. The varied terrain of the 188km course, between Aarberg and Trimbach-Olten, featured a 1st category Scheltenpass in its mid part, and a hilly finishing circuit, and was made for breakaways to escape. After an earlier attack had been brought back, the peloton arrived at the foot of the Scheltenpass all together.

“The hills, they were hard. But for me the hardest part is the rain. Always the rain,” said Megias. “So I attacked, because it was an hour and a half of racing and there was no clear breakaway. And then two guys came with me, then two more. Then we were nine together, working well, going fast. And the peloton didn't chase us and pretty soon we had two minutes advantage and that was it.”

The nine-man group’s lead eventually reached three minutes, but this was not enough for them to hold off the peloton; with 29km to go, Megias and most of the rest were caught as Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Dario Cataldo attacked alone.

"The four hills at the end were so hard,” Megias explained. “I tried to keep the pace on the first climb, but lost a little bit of ground. After the descent I felt good again, so I rejoined the first three riders. That was four of us together for the next climb, but it was 20% elevation and we knew the peloton was coming. With 15k to the finish we waited for the group to catch us and rode with their pace to finish at the front.

“The rain in the last hour was cold and really, really hard. I don't think it has rained that hard on me on the bike in a long, long time,” he added.

As soon as he had finished, Megias measured his blood glucose, and said that his BG level was 73.

“That's right at the bottom end of good,” he explained. “Luckily we are very well prepared as a team, and I had plenty of food and liquids to begin to bring the blood sugars back up.

“I feel good,” he added. “I felt much better today than I did yesterday. Yesterday I felt slow and it was hard to find the right rhythm for my legs. Today with the speed and the climbing I was good.

“Tomorrow we'll see, maybe I'll be even better.”

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