Dare 2b’s The Brotherhood: Stephen Roche – interview
Triple Crown winner on the memories of 1987
Irish legend Stephen Roche says memories of his 1987 Triple Crown success will live with him forever.
Roche became only the second man ever to win the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and World Championships in the same calendar year in 1987 – Eddy Merckx is the other – and no rider has replicated the feat since.
But Roche insists, even with such an achievement on his palmares, it is difficult to pinpoint one highlight from a storied career.
“Looking back at my career, the Giro, Tour and Worlds in ’87 will be the highlight of course but I can look back on my career as being a 13-year-long highlight,” he said.
“It was an incredible journey for me. There were good times, there were bad times but even the bad times were good times because they made the future better.”
It was not just the triple success which stands out,but the hero’s reception he received when he returned to Dublin for a civic service in celebration.
“Returning home was an incredible thing,” he added. “When I was told I was going home for a civic reception I thought well, “I’m going to look stupid going to Ireland, when all the Irish lads are in Paris having finished the Tour.”
“When I got home, there were nearly a million people in Dublin. All those images of my homecoming are absolutely incredible – stupid slogans like “Roche for President”, you know? It was incredibly and those memories will live with me forever.”
Roche is one of four cyclists – alongside Oscar Pereiro, Angelo Furlan and Tim Harris – brought together by clothing brand Dare 2b to form The Brotherhood.
The collaboration saw the four unite to ride in Spain and the Irishman says every time he gets on his bike he’s reminded of the simple joy which first attracted him to cycling.
“When cyclists get together, it’s never a dull time,” he explained. “The different nationalities, the language, the sharing of the passion – it’s always good to discover these things. I have to say, I’ve not been disappointed.
“This is what cycling is all about – you have these guys in lycra, you see them on television, winning Monuments, but in fact they’re just normal people.
“For me, my career has gone full cycle – I started off cycling when I was 13 and discovered the passion and joy of cycling, the countryside, the freedom, the camaraderie between cyclists.
“Then I had my career, which of course meant instead of friends I had a lot of opposition but nevertheless it was an incredible journey.
“Now I’m retired, cycling has become my way of letting the air out and enjoying life. I love it, riding with my kids, with friends, on cycling holidays with clients – for me, it’s about sharing my passion now more than anything else.
“It’s an incredible sport and I think you really have to do it to believe it. But, for me, I’m just delighted someone one day said ‘Stephen, ride your bike, it’s good fun’.”
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