Following his stint in the Vuelta a Espana last summer, Nicholas Roche found himself in some serious health difficulties when he suffered two separate spider bites which resulted in two trips to the hospital.
In his regular Irish Independent column, the son of Tour De France winner Steven Roche, recalls how his marriage ceremony in Monaco and subsequent honeymoon were followed by two painful encounters with spiders.
The first spider bite struck him during a bike ride in Australia as he was trying to adjust new shoes on the side of the road.
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''I felt something bite me on my lower arm, near the wrist, but passed it off as a mosquito and continued training. When my arm began to cramp severely in the grocery store the next day though I knew something was wrong and found myself in hospital for three days.''
Following that unpleasant experience, Roche was to face further health problems on the back of another spider attack after he bought a statue of an elephant while on a stopover in Singapore.
''While breaking the wooden pallet the statue was wrapped in, I was bitten by another spider lurking inside. I didn't feel it at the time but cramps in my legs and sweats that night were the first indication I'd been bitten again. A black dot soon appeared on my bicep and by the time I got home to Monaco two days later the bite had eaten into my arm like a bullet hole.''
''I ended up in hospital in Nice for three days but just as I began to recover from that I ended up in hospital again as the bacterial infection golden staph set into my wound and it took four weeks to get rid of.''