Roche reacts to worlds disappointment, crash takes possible medal contender out of race
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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Roche reacts to worlds disappointment, crash takes possible medal contender out of race

by Shane Stokes at 1:58 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, World Championships, Video
 
“Today, if you had any problems, you were gone”

Nicolas RocheBoth of Ireland’s captains started this morning determined to try to achieve a big performance, believing the punchy course would suit their strengths, but instead Nicolas Roche and Dan Martin each ended up on the ground, behind the bunch and then out of the race.

The problems which befell them were similar to those suffered by many other riders on the greasy surface, with the first two thirds of the race rendered extremely tricky due to the heavy rains on a road slicked by city traffic and painted lines.

Roche hit the deck on the first of ten laps of the Firenze finishing circuit. He wasn’t badly hurt, but was sufficiently delayed to make it impossible to get back on.

“I felt good and the others on the team were really focussed. Matt Brammeier and Sam Bennett were helping myself and Dan and we were in a good position when we reached the finishing circuit,” Roche told VeloNation, saying that things initially went to plan.

“However after the second climb, the steep one, I was riding up the front on the descent. Peter Velits was ahead of me and his bike went from under him, aquaplaning and taking me down too. I slid off to the side of the road. Guys had fallen ahead, and others fell behind us trying to avoid us. It was chaos…I was lying there, one foot still clipped into my bike. Velits sportingly helped me up.

“Sam and Matt waited for me to try to help me get back to the group. After the first corner when chasing, I was already a bit nervous of falling again. The gaps were there and I decided there was no point – I couldn’t take any more risks to come back, it was impossible.

“It was already very fast in the bunch with some gaps opening. Today, if you had any problems, you were gone.”

Roche, Brammeier and Bennett withdrew from the race once it was clear that they wouldn’t be able to get back to the front group. Martin continued on as Ireland’s sole hope, but he took hit the deck. He came down in a crash with Cadel Evans (Australia) and others, falling approximately 132 kilometres from the end.

He was also delayed getting back on his bike and while he chased hard, getting close to the rear of the convoy at one point, he eventually slipped back and then retired from the race.

Roche was philosophical about what happened, realising that others were more badly hurt. “I am a bit disappointed but there is nothing you can do. Looking at it on the good side, it could have been a worse crash, so that is something. But it is disappointing. The guys had been doing a great job until then, making sure we were in the right place on the first lap.

“All four of us were up there and ready to go, but unfortunately it didn’t work out.”

Roche had ridden well in the Vuelta a España earlier this month, taking a stage win plus fifth overall, and also showed good form in netting thirteenth in the time trial earlier this week.

He has one race left on his programme for 2013 and hopes to show well there.

“I do Lombardy next,” he confirmed. “I was hoping to finish the last two races with a good performance so now after today, I just have to focus on the next one and try to do something there.”

Post race mood contrasts with initial excitement:

VeloNation spoke to both of the Irish captains earlier this morning, minutes before the start in Lucca. Roche was in good form, appearing relaxed but also noting that the rain would make a technical course even more technical.

“Hopefully I will be able to pull something good out at the finish. It has been going well for me in the past month and hopefully today I can try. I have never been a world champ specialist so I am not super, super overexcited, but I am going to stay focused, give it all and see what happens.

“I think the course is definitely suited to myself and Dan. It is one of the better ones over the years. Hopefully that will be in our favour. Myself and Dan are extremely motivated and we are at least going to try.”



“I think the course is definitely suited to myself and Dan. It is one of the better ones over the years. Hopefully that will be in our favour. Myself and Dan are extremely motivated and we are at least going to try.”

Martin also spoke at the start and said that he wasn’t thinking too much about the weather conditions.



Martin had originally hoped to finish the Vuelta a España as part of his buildup, chasing another stage win to add to the one he took at the Tour de France, but crashed out with concussion.

He admitted that he was uncertain about his form, saying that he didn’t feel great in Britain. “But we’ll see,” he said. Unfortunately neither he, Roche, nor the others who crashed out of today’s race had a chance to really test their legs.
 

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