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HomeInterviewsLaurence Roche - Irish Pro with Carrerra and Tonton in the '90's

Laurence Roche – Irish Pro with Carrerra and Tonton in the ’90’s

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Alençon, Basse Normandie, France on the morning of July 14th 1991 – we really shouldn’t have been there.

The day before we’d witnessed the start of Miguel Indurain’s reign as King of the Tour in the Stage Eight Alençon time trial; but Ed The Pole had forgotten to set his Psion Organiser (remember those?) to CET and we’d missed the morning ferry home by 30 seconds.

There was but one thing to do – once we’d changed our P&O tickets to early evening – go and see the start of Stage Nine in Alençon.

It was different back then, as we drove to the start we passed the stars en route the sign-on; Soren Lilholt on his radical monocoque and glum-looking super-climber, ‘Lucho’ Herrera.

Ça va, Lucho?’ we enquired, hanging out of the car window – ‘ça va, ça va’ shrugged the tiny Colombian but he gave us a smile and a wave.

Infiltrating the start area nowadays without the right bits of plastic hanging round your neck would be impossible – but back then we just ducked under a plastic tape and we were among the team cars.

And there was Laurence Roche who happily chatted away to us until the field was called to the line; ‘sure the start’ll be a few minutes yet’.

He looked a million dollars in his Tonton Tapis kit but was warm, friendly, grounded and good fun.

Ever since then I’ve meant to catch up with him, again – and just after the New Year this year, I managed it.