Nicholas Roche’s hopes were literally and metaphorically blown off course when high winds prevented him from holding his position in an elite 21-man group that dominated the opening road stage to Orleans.
“I’d been riding pretty well and got into the front group when the bunch split in the crosswinds, which was the hardest part of the stage. Then I just took a strong gust of wind and it blew me away. I lost contact with the back of the group and had no shelter, which made it very hard to get back on track,” – said Roche afterwards.
With the week-long race likely to be decided between the members of Monday’s front group, Roche will now have to channel his energy into chasing stage wins on the five remaining road stages as he is now over three minutes back in 63rd place. “I’m very p***ed off,” he said. “I was just caught out in the wind for a few seconds too long and that was the end of it. I went from thinking I was going to have a great Paris-Nice to thinking, ‘oh no, the boss is going to kill me’.”