The late 1970’s through to the early 1990’s was a great period for Irish cycling.
In 1978, Sean Kelly won Stage Six of the Tour de France whilst Stephen Roche opened his account in 1981 by winning the Tour of Corsica.
It was 1992 when Sean Kelly closed the book with his stunning second victory in Milan-Sanremo.
In between those two victories of Kelly’s the Irish duo won virtually every major race on the calendar: The Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a Espana, Tour of Romandie, Tour de Suisse, Paris-Nice – Kelly an impossible seven consecutive times – Pais Vasco, Catalunya, Criterium International, World Road Race Championship, Tour of Lombardy, Milan-Sanremo, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Paris-Roubaix…
The only ‘majors’ which escaped them were the Dauphine and Tour of Flanders.
And, ‘cometh the man, cometh the bike race,’ to feed the hunger of the Irish public, desperate to see their two mega stars in action the Nissan Classic was created, bringing the world’s best riders to the Emerald Isle; Kelly duly obliged by winning four of the eight editions.
Apart from the nation of their birth and talent, the two men have another common denominator; they were both managed by Dubliner, M