Monday 25 September 2017

Cycling legend Stephen Roche reveals emotion at reuniting with victory bike

Cormac Murphy

Stephen Roche has said he was "quite emotional" when reunited with a bike he rode to victory early in his career.

The cycling legend got his hands on the racer again after 30 years when he presented it to the Little Museum of Dublin.

The Tour de France and Giro d'Italia winner said: "I didn't realise it was going to be so heavy.

"It brings home how hard it was to win a race back then. It's great that it's still in such good condition and nice that it's here at the museum now. I can come in and look at it, my kids can come in and look at it."

The racer, a TI-Raleigh Team bicycle, was ridden by Roche when he won the Ras Tailteann amateur stage-race in 1979.

The Dubliner has acknowledged the Ras win as an important stepping stone in his career.

Referred to as the gift bike, it has had five owners without any money changing hands. It has been loaned to the Little Museum by its current owner, Tom Daly.

It weighs 9.6kg, about 1.5kg heavier than the modern equivalent.

The bike can be viewed as part of the museum's first-floor permanent collection.

Museum curator Simon O'Connor said: "We're really proud to be able to display this wonderful piece of Dublin cycling history which we hope will be an inspiration to young and old visitors alike.

"The bike has had many illustrious owners, from Stephen himself to his mentor, Peter Crinnion, Gene Mangan (another Ras winner) and finally Tom Daly, who has loaned it to the museum.

"That no money has ever changed hands for the bike is charming in itself, but also underlines the goodwill and passion that drives Irish cycling."

Excitement is building ahead of the arrival of the Giro d'Italia from Northern Ireland into Louth and Dublin this weekend. Roche entered cycling folklore in 1987 when he won the Giro, the Tour de France and the World Championships within the space of a few months.

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