Nick Matthew column: Le Tour coming to Sheffield is ride on with me

My wife Esme has met Sir Bradley Wiggins.
My wife Esme has met Sir Bradley Wiggins.
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It is great the Tour de France is going through Yorkshire.

The whole county is buzzing about it and the event has already helped generate more tourism in the area. It promises to be an amazing spectacle.

Cycling is a sport very close to my wife Esme’s heart. She is a physiologist for the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield and the Great Britain Cycling Team.

Esme has worked at the last two Olympic Games in Beijing and London. She mainly supports riders competing in the track cycling endurance events. She has met people in her lab such as Sir Bradley Wiggins, Olympic gold medal winner Laura Trott, Dani King and Joanna Rowsell.

Some of the athletes Esme works closely with will be competing in this year’s Commonwealth Games. The Tour De France has not impacted as much on her. It is in the Olympic year when Esme’s job gets particularly busy.

Over the years, Esme has passed on plenty of tips to me which have benefited my preparation and training. She is my secret weapon!

Because Esme works with athletes on a daily basis, she knows what I am going through. She gets the highs and lows of being a professional athlete.

But, at the same time, Esme doesn’t bring her work home with her. She is really good at switching off and putting things into perspective for me.

As a squash player, I have to travel around the world quite a lot. It is never easy being away from Esme but she understands the nature of my job and is very supportive. She knows I will be away from home for a longer period the more matches that I win. She wants me to be successful but she likes it when I come home. By the same token, Esme knows if I do well in a tournament that I can treat her well!

*It was an honour to be invited to sit in the Royal Box on Centre Court at Wimbledon. Unfortunately, Esme and I couldn’t go last Saturday as it was too soon after my minor knee operation. I would not have enjoyed it anyway as I wanted to see Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in action but none of them were playing on Centre!

Joking aside, we were gutted we had to give it a miss. I was under strict instructions from my medical team to put my feet up and rest so Esme and I celebrated our first year wedding anniversary at home.