Sportsmen talk a lot about being willing to go through the pain barrier.
But there has rarely been such a graphic display of what this entails as on Stage 20 of the 1987 Tour de France.
Halfway through the final climb on the way to La Plagne, Roche found himself a minute and a half down on his chief rival Pedro Delgado and on the way to losing the race.
By the finish line the gap was to four seconds and an utterly spent Roche collapsed and lost consciousness.
He recovered and went on to win the Tour by a margin of 40 seconds but perhaps no Irish sportsman has ever pushed himself to the brink the way Stephen Roche did that day in The Alps.