Former pro-cyclist Stephen Roche will lead this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade as festival organisers have chosen him to fill the position of Grand Marshall.
The Dublin sporting star was selected by festival organisers for his “outstanding contribution to the sport of cycling” over his 13-year professional career.
On receiving the Grand Marshal honour, Stephen Roche commented: “I am an extremely proud Irishman and proud to have flown the flag for Ireland throughout my cycling career.”
“It is a huge honour to have been chosen as Grand Marshal for this year’s St. Patrick’s Festival in a year that Ireland hosts the Giro d’Italia. Throughout my career, I have become accustomed to seeing city streets lined with people but this will be a truly unique experience, one that I am greatly looking forward to.”
Earlier this week, the road racing legend officially entered the Giro d’Italia Hall of Fame, coinciding with cycling competition Tour of Italy 2014 that will hold an opening event in Ireland in May.
In 1987, Roche became the second cyclist in history to claim the ‘Triple Crown of Victories’ winning the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and the world championship in one season.
CEO of St. Patrick’s Festival, Susan Kirby commented: “We are thrilled to announce Stephen Roche as Grand Marshal for this year’s Festival Parade.”
“With the Giro d’Italia coming to Ireland this year we felt it was fitting to reward one of our greatest ever cyclists with this honour. Stephen has inspired a generation of cyclists in Ireland and has been a great ambassador for the country. We wish him all the best in his role as Grand Marshal and hope that he enjoys the special experience.”
As part of a three part theme –‘Past, Present and Future’ – to run over the next few years, the 2014 parade will channel ‘Let’s Make History’.
The 2013 St. Patrick’s Festival added €122m to the Irish economy.