Kelly, Roche and the 1985 Tour de France: if this guy from Dublin can do it, then I can


Two Irish runners stood on the podium of the Tour de France Thursday at Mont Aigoual, as Sam Bennett wore the leader’s green jersey in points and Nicolas Roche was celebrated as the most combative rider of the day, and the moment echoed the country’s golden age at La Grande Loop in the 1980s. Bennett is the first Irishman to wear a Tour leader’s jersey since compatriot Carrick-on-Suir Sean Kelly won the points classification for the fourth time in 1989, while Stephen Roche – father de Nicolas – won the race in 1987.Two years before this high water mark, Kelly and Roche were competing for the third step of the 1985 Tour podium. After placing fifth a year earlier, Kelly had started the Tour with vague overall classification ambitions, but her focus was worn on the green jersey after a series of ongoing battles with fierce rival Eric Vanderaerden in opening week. When Roche started moving up the overall standings in week two, Kelly was encouraged to explore her own limits in the high mountains.


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