Head injury disrupts Hayden Roulston's plans

DAVID LONG
Last updated 05:00 03/09/2012
Hayden Roulston
ROBYN EDIE/Southland Times
HEAD KNOCK: Hayden Roulston is confident he could be riding again by the time the road world championships take place.

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Hayden Roulston is confident he could be riding again by the time the road world championships take place, in Limburg, the Netherlands, from September 15-23 - if he decides to line up.

Roulston was forced to pull out before stage 13 of the Tour of Spain on Saturday, still feeling the effects of a head knock in a big crash the previous day.

"I am pretty groggy still," Roulston said yesterday from his home in Girona, Spain.

"I took a really hard knock to the head. I've had the CAT scans and everything, there is no damage but it has pulled all of the muscles that link up to the back of my head and that's what's causing all of the pain.

"I signed on to start the stage [on Saturday], but when I was biking to sign on I just wasn't with it with my co-ordination.

"A head injury is pretty serious, so for the safety of myself and the other riders in the bunch I couldn't start. I am disappointed not to be there still, but just hearing myself talk now I don't feel like I am speaking properly and everything feels like it is in slow motion."

Ashburton-born Roulston vaguely remembers the crash that ended his Tour of Spain and believes he could have come off a lot worse. "It was on a corner with 30km to go on the stage," he said.

"One of the guys up front hit a traffic island and that made all of the riders panic because everyone was coming around a blind corner. I don't remember much, but I remember sitting there quite disoriented and facing the way where everyone was coming towards me.

"I have seen the crash on video and I am pretty lucky not to come away with any broken bones."

Roulston is on the shortlist to compete in the men's road race at the world championships, along with Jack Bauer, George Bennett, Julian Dean and Jesse Sergent.

There are only three spots available for New Zealand riders in the race. Roulston believes he will be over his head problems by then and has his eyes on a race in Belgium on September 12.

He is keen to ride for RadioShack Nissan in the team time trial at the world champs, but isn't sure if he wants one of the spots in the prestigious men's road race.

"I have had a few talks with BikeNZ and I said to them that I didn't want to make a decision until after the Vuelta because I wanted to see how I came out of it," Roulston said.

"I am still in the mix for the team time trial which is on September 16, which is my first priority.

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"I will be 100 per cent for the road world championships if I decide to go down that path. My first priority is to get back on the bike and get this hangover feeling out of my body."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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