Crashes have been an unfortunately large part of the Tour de France through its first five stages, but at least when Nicolas Roche went down on stage five he had a soft landing.
The Team Sky rider is keeping a stage-by-stage diary in the Irish Independent, where he lets the readers in on what it’s like on the road, and sometimes off the road, like he experienced on Wednesday.
Roche describes how he flew over the handlebars into a group of spectators before finding himself in a flowerbed. At which point, Team Sky mechanic Gary Blem turned his hand to horticulture in order to get the Irishman’s bike back on the road.
Roche wrote: “I tried to control my skid but couldn’t stop my wheel hitting the kerb, where I was catapulted over the handlebars and onto the stunned spectators, who broke my fall a little bit before we all landed in a heap in the flowers. I uprooted myself from the flowerbed just as our mechanic Gary arrived alongside me.
“Gary pulled a few flowers out of my brake levers and cleaned my handlebars while I wiped the peat moss off my team kit and gave myself a quick once-over.
“Apart from my pride though, I wasn’t hurt and I hope none of the spectators were either.”
Roche is a key part of Chris Froome’s entourage at the Tour de France and the Irishman’s job will to guide the 2013 winner up the high mountains alongside the likes of Leopold Konig and Richie Porte.
Roche joined Sky from Tinkoff-Saxo at the start of the season, having helped guide Alberto Contador to fourth overall in the 2013 Tour.