The 1980’s was a magical time for Irish professional cycling. For a while we could lay claim to the top two cyclists in the world. Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche won everything (except the Tour of Flanders). At no stage in their careers did they ever end up as team-mates, but they liked and respected each other and often rode for each other in races.
Roche once said that people shouldn’t look at their respective careers as separate entities, weighing up which one of them won which races. Instead, said Roche, we should put their career achievements together and view them as one.
These successes which brought so much joy to Irish cycling fans took place before I became one. Despite the recent resurgence spear-headed by another Roche along with Dan Martin and Philip Deignan, I can’t help but feel I missed out.
Fortunately, there are many ways for us to relive these moments.
Sean Kelly even had a board game.
And in 1987, as he was on his way to winning the Tour de France, Stephen Roche had a song. It was written by Dermot Morgan of Father Ted fame for the radio show Scrap Saturday. And thanks to a very kind girl called Sinead, here ’tis resurrected from an old magnetic piece of tape housed in plastic, reborn as a living breathing digital sequence of numbers.
Get outta that saddle Stephen!