Where are they now?
Martin Earley (Former cyclist)
When Martin Earley was 12 years old he was given a bike to cycle to school, it was a racer and he loved it. He knew a group of riders from different clubs met at the Garden of Remembrance every weekend so he joined up with them and took his steps into the world of cycling.
From there he got into racing, moving through the ranks from schoolboy onto to junior and experiencing a lot of success along the way including being crowned national junior champion in the late 1970s. During that time he was also selected on various national teams.
When Earley was 20, he relocated to the outskirts of Paris to ride as an amateur. It was a step up from what he was doing at home but he adapted quickly to his new circumstances.
"It was a big change not just physically but culturally and it was a shock to the system but I coped with it well and I enjoyed it. Also, it was another level up in racing which made it enjoyable as well," explains Earley.
In 1984, he went to the Olympics in Los Angeles and competed in the road race. Then the following year he turned professional.
During his pro career he experienced more success, winning a stage of the Giro d'Italia and also a stage of the Tour de France.
"I was competitive but I wasn't up with the top guys. If everything went right on my day I could do well but if it was in the big mountains I didn't have the strength that the top guys had. I was always pretty steady though and I was happy with that."
He finished his professional cycling career in the mid 1990s and made the switch to mountain biking. "It kept me reasonably fresh; the endurance is not the same as riding the road so I was okay at it."
In 1996, he went to the Atlanta Olympics where he competed in the mountain bike race, finishing 25th.
Earley lives in the Midlands in England and works as a sports injury therapist. He still cycles and enjoys the sport as much today as he did when he took it up as a 12-year-old.
On August 11, the Martin Earley Tour of Kildare takes place with all proceeds going to the Marie Keating Foundation.