Two-time Dakar Rally winner Nani Roma has revealed he is battling bladder cancer.
In an announcement via his social media channels, the Bahrain Raid Xtreme driver said that the cancer was “treatable” and that the “prognosis is good”. He is expected to be away from competition for up to six months, ruling him out of the upcoming Andalucía Rally in June.
Speaking about his diagnosis, Roma said: “Some days ago, I felt some pain in my back and I went to the hospital, and they found some tumor in the body. It was hard when I heard this word, but it is the reality. After that, the doctor analyzed everything and, in the end, it is a problem which has a solution.
“Now, I will spend some months out of the rally car, out of competition, fighting against this issue.”
Roma will start chemotherapy in “a couple of weeks”, after which he will undergo a surgical procedure to remove the tumor.
Despite the setback, Roma says he will continue his training regime with his team and doctors.
“The plan is to continue training hard, to fight against the cancer before and after the chemotherapy to try to arrive in the best shape possible.
“This is life, and sometimes life has some bad surprises but that is the reality. I would like to say thank you to my team, sponsors and the doctors and my family. We are in the right place; we have the best type of technology for this cancer. That means we are really optimistic, and I will be back.”
Roma made the switch from the bike category to cars after winning the Dakar in 2004 and is one of just a handful of competitors to triumph on both two and four wheels, having won the car class in 2014 with Mini.
He is one of the most experienced Dakar Rally participants and has been part of the BRX Prodrive program since its maiden outing in 2021, finishing fifth.
DirtFish would like to wish Roma all the best with his recovery and fight against cancer.