By Shane Stokes
Now recovered from the infected saddle sore which ruled him out of the Tour of Ireland, Nicolas Roche will make a return to racing in Saturday's Paris-Brussels.
The Crédit Agricole pro had targeted the Irish race as one of his big goals for the season but had to withdraw on the first day.
"The problem happened on the Friday coming back from the Tour de l'Ain," he told Cyclingnews. "I didn't feel it at the time - now I know what happened that day, but at the time I just thought it was like a cut or something like that. Then ganglions [small cysts] swelled up, so I knew that something was wrong then."
Roche received treatment for the problem and was able to finally return to training over a week ago. "I had an infection in that area but it is gone now. The problem [saddle sore] is still there a little bit but the blood test is clear now, so that is good.
"I started back on Monday of last week and have been training a full week now. I'm doing things as normal, getting in some long distance rides and went out behind the motorbike on Wednesday."
As expected, he's lost some condition due to the enforced break. "I don't feel great. I was behind the motorbike and I was in the red for the whole day! I felt like I had someone pulling a strap around my chest."
The third year pro has been in solid form this year and hopes that a good block of racing will help him sharpen up and get a result or two before the end of the season. After Paris-Brussels, he will ride the Grand Prix Fourmies on Sunday, GP Wallonie on Wednesday, the Tour de la Somme next Friday and GP d'Isbergues on Sunday week. The rest of his programme will be decided then.