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Roche out but not down

Irish Champion Nicholas Roche (AG2R-La Mondiale)

Irish Champion Nicholas Roche (AG2R-La Mondiale) (Image credit:

Irish national champion Nicolas Roche has to take three weeks off the bike after an MRI scan on Tuesday showed a torn muscle in his left thigh. The injury comes at a bad time in the season as the AG2R rider achieved good results lately and fine-tuned his form in view of the important stage races of the European summer.

Roche had to withdraw from the Tour de Romandie last Saturday because of the pain in his thigh, which was now revealed to be more than a tendonitis. "There is nothing much I can do at the moment, except to rest completely," Roche told Cyclingnews from his father's hotel on the Côte d'Azur, where he is staying for a few days after hospital doctors made the diagnosis. "I will do some swimming to keep fit, and later on there will be physiotherapy, but for now, I have to rest."

Despite this being a real setback in his 2010 season, Roche took the bad news philosophically. "It's not the end of the world. Of course injuries are always annoying, but just look at what happened to Nocentini: he's been off the bike for two months now. I just need to concentrate not to put on any weight - even during the winter, I find it hard to do three weeks without riding."

Still, the timing of this injury left Roche somewhat disappointed as it will certainly result in a re-shuffling of his racing schedule, possibly even putting his Tour de France participation in jeopardy. But the 25-year-old did not want to think about this now.

"I'll take this step by step. In two weeks, I will have a second MRI scan to check how the muscle has healed, and then we'll see about my race schedule. It's annoying as this injury came in the lead-up to the Dauphiné and the Tour, so it means that my plans will have to be reviewed.

"I don't want to panick about the Tour now," he added when asked if he feared not being able to participate in the event. "I still hope to be there, although my hopes for the race may be slightly less ambitious than previously planned. I hope to come out of the Tour strong and give the Vuelta and the world championships a good shot."

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