Nicolas Roche admits the result of his crash in Sunday’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege could have been a lot worse than the cuts and bruises he suffered.
The Irishman, riding for Team Sky, went down with just over 40km to go in the final Ardennes Classic, ending up under a tree with a bang to the head.
Writing in the Irish Independent, Roche described how Europcar rider Yukiya Arashiro sped around him into the bunch to start the carnage, in a crash that also bought down the past two Liege champions, Simon Gerrans and Dan Martin.
“He touched off a Lampre rider and both of them went down, right in front of me,” says Roche.
“In the collision, Arashiro’s bike hit mine and catapulted me across the road, where I landed under a tree on the grass verge as a Garmin-Cannondale rider rode into my back and flipped over me.
“For a few seconds I didn’t know what had happened and was confused when a stranger in a red jacket leaned over me to see if I was okay.
“The spectator’s face was soon replaced by those of my team mechanic and the race doctor, who removed my helmet and checked me over before tending to Arashiro who was lying prone beside me.”
After a basic concussion test from a Sky medic, Roche knew the best course of action would be to withdraw from the race, citing his injuries as a cut above his right eye, bruises from the tumble and cuts from his tangle with the bike.
The Irishman will be straight back on his bike this week, as part of Team Sky’s Tour de Romandie squad, which starts on Tuesday.