'There was a lot of animal bacteria in my blood': Matteo Jorgenson reveals that animal faeces made him ill after Paris-Roubaix

This one's not for the faint-hearted. It's pretty grim...

Matteo Jorgenson
(Image credit: Getty)

The mud, we hope, has just about dried up and been peeled off all of the faces and bodies of those who rode a very wet, extremely dirty, but epic Paris-Roubaix at the start of October.

For Matteo Jorgenson, however, Movistar’s young American talent, the effects of Robuaix lingered a little longer than after his post-race shower.

The 22-year-old, who was in the day’s first breakaway, posted on Instagram in the hours after the race that stomach issues caused him to go for a nature break mid-race not once, but twice.

It prompted flashbacks to Tom Dumoulin’s infamous trip to an open-air bathroom at the 2017 Giro d’Italia - but at least Dumoulin didn’t suffer for it in the weeks after.

Jorgenson, on the other hand, was feeling the effects for quite some time. Because all that cow manure that he inadvertently ate literally made him ill. And for the benefit of doubt: yes, it was the cow gunk that did the damage.

“I don’t know what happened!” Jorgenson told Cycling Weekly as part of a wide-ranging interview not limited to just toilet matters, the second and longer article of which will be published on Sunday.

“But I know afterwards I got super-sick in my bed and thankfully there is a doctor on the bottom floor of my apartment block and one night at 3am, unable to sleep, feeling increasingly sick with fever, I went down there, rung her doorbell and said I needed help.

“She did a blood test and it found bacteria in my blood, and a lot of it was animal bacteria. She diagnosed me with a condition that only happens when someone has basically been injected with or eaten animal faeces.

“She gave me some antibiotics that worked but I still had some infections after Roubaix.

“I’m not sure if my stomach issues on the day were based around that. I think a lot of it was based on what I was eating in the race, going full gas from the start with gels and bars. After seven hours it didn’t quite sit right. I had to stop a few times in the race - I literally couldn’t hold it in.”

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Disgusting, we know. But was it worth it? Wet editions of Roubaix don’t come around every year. The photographers, at the very least, will be cashing in on prints of their images for decades to come.

Jorgenson’s not so sure. “I don’t know about it being worth it!” he laughed.

“I didn’t have the best time to be honest. If I had done a result it might have been, but I got 70th [ed - 65th]. I’m not sure it was a fun experience!

“It’s not quite the race for me - if it was dry it would have been a lot different. But it was cool to experience it. A wet Roubaix is a once in a lifetime event so I can say I’ve done it.”

Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.


Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.