A freshly poured stout sitting on a table in a Dublin pub, James Joyce’s Ulysses, transatlantic voyages to the new world in the early 1900s, and St. Patrick; there are many things that Ireland is known for, but cycling never normally springs to mind.
It was Ireland however, who once hosted the start of the Tour de France in 1998, which saw cycling’s elite pass through it’s green landscape. But it’s not just the land that has played a part in cycling history, Ireland has also produced a long line of great professional cyclists, some who have given back to the sport such as Sean Kelly, a now well-known commentator and spokesperson for the sport. More current Irish cyclists include Nicolas Roche, Sam Bennett and Dan Martin, so join us, raise a glass and salute the great cyclists that Ireland has given us over the years.
Irish titles and winnings
As far as titles and winnings go in Irish cycling, it would seem wrong of us to not start with Cycling legend Sean Kelly, a man who left such a strong mark on cycling that he had a Castelli colour-way named after him.
Now heard but not as often seen, Kelly is the voice of Eurosport, commentating on big tours and races all year round, but it was his cycling that really left the mark. His Tour de France participation spans fourteen years, and his Vuelta a España record boasts sixteen stage wins and one overall yellow jersey win. When you sprinkle in a record-breaking seven consecutive Paris-Nice wins between 1982 and 1988, you’re looking at a world-class cyclist.
Dan Martin and Nicolas Roche are more recent and still current great Irish cyclists, with the former winning stages in both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España, and the latter taking strong positions in continental road races as well as recently joining Team Sky. Watch out for young gun Sam Bennett too, who grew up in the same town as Sean Kelly, Carrick-on-Suir. At the young age of 24, Bennett has already won stages in Germany, Spain and Qatar, as well as a stage of the Tour of Britain in 2013.