The Ascent

Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation

Author: Barry Ryan

Publisher: Gill & Macmillan Ltd

ISBN: 0717180263

Category: Sports & Recreation

Page: 400

View: 3243

For most of the 20th century, professional cycling was dominated by riders from the continental strongholds of France, Italy, Belgium and Spain, but in the 1980s, two young men from Ireland rose from obscure beginnings to arrive at the very top of the sport: Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche. Kelly was quiet, consistent and famously resilient – the dominant classics rider of his era. Roche, by contrast, was a charismatic and mercurial presence, whose unruly talent would carry him to the Triple Crown in 1987 – victories at the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and World Championships – a feat unmatched in the three decades since. Today, they remain indelibly inscribed in the annals of cycling, feted by fans across the world who recall the deeds that secured their legacies. But beyond the bike lies the untold story of adjusting to the mores of the professional peloton, of influences shared and of friendships made and broken. This is that story. Based on new and exclusive interviews with Kelly and Roche themselves, as well as their teammates, rivals and confidants, including Paul Kimmage, Martin Earley, David Walsh and Pat McQuaid, The Ascent is the dramatic story of how a generation of Irish riders scaled heights never reached before or since. ‘Barry Ryan expertly dissects the complicated relationships that inspired a period of stunning success – and a bitter aftermath – for a generation of Irish cyclists, with a wry, intelligent and incisive style. A compellingly sharp read.’ Jeremy Whittle, Author of Ventoux