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Thread: Competitive cycling

  1. #1
    First Team Gerrit's Avatar
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    Competitive cycling

    Coming from a country myself (Belgium) where cycling is the nr 1 sport together with football and with some excellent cyclists in history (Merckx, Van Impe, Van Steenbergen, Planckaert, Museeuw, Boonen now recently...) it is a bit surprising to me to see the sport doesn't seem to be big here.

    I wonder why, Ireland has a scenery that is excellent for cycling. A bit of mountains, some rather flat parts, few nice decors for the audience, goad roads that could be excellent for cycling races...

    Is there something as a Tour of Ireland, and are there any talented cyclists here ??
    I never read something about it in the papers, though heard recently that Ireland would for the first time since Roche and Kelly send a cyclist to the Tour de France (or he would have participated already for the 1st time last year ??). The guy who told me was not sure of his name, though he told me it's a quite talented lad.

    Kelly and Roche were legends of course, will always be amongst cycling fans.
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  2. #2
    Now with extra sauce! Dodge's Avatar
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    Its bigger than you think Gerrit. Go to http://www.irishcycling.com and you'll get all the news and views about Cycling in Ireland you'll ever need.

    We've a few young professionals and the most promising are Mark Scanlon and Philip Deignen who bth rride with the Ag2r team. Scanlon is a former World junior champion and rode in last years tour at the age of 23. Deignen is rated even higher and was fourth in last years espoirs world ranking. He's a climber...

    Its a huge participation sport here but obviously enough if any cyclists want ot go professional they hvae to ove on to Belgium or Spain...

    The closest we have to a Tour of Ireland is a race called the RAs which is a UCI 2.1 ranked event. Its just about to start...
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    There was the Nissan Tour of Ireland back in the 80's. The top cyclists in the world would compete, though don't know if they were all taking it serioulsy or not. Wasn't anything like the the TdeF, the Gira or the Vuelta, but I remember lining the side of the road to see some famous names.
    Ireland has never really had a cycling culture, we just kind of got lucky with Kelly and Roche in the 80's I think.

    Pity, because as you say we have fantastic terrain for it.

    I suppose it's like Horse racing in Belgium, you have a bit of it, but it's just not ingrained in your culture like it is in ours.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, the RáS is going on this week - final crit Sunday in Pheonix Park. Hoping to catch it Saturday myself...

    The Nissan Classic was only short lived - when there were a few Irish professionals - Kelly, Roche, Earley and Kimmage. No money or interest once they'd died down.

    Not really part of the culture as such, but mainly because like all sports, the Irish are only interested in the big events when there's an Irish success story. Roche far more highly regarded by the general Irish public, despite Kelly being the most consistent over his whole career.

    Plenty of participation in cycling - I live in the mountains, and the weekend is full of cyclists, Bray Wheelers obviously the main one. 2 main factors that go against cycling in this country, imo, are the weather (obvious enough) and perhaps more importantly the state of the roads - the condition, the repair, the debris, even the way the country roads are laid...
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    I've done a bit of cycling with UCC and I can tell you the roads are certainly not suited to cycling!

    I regularly (at least during the summer months) cycle into town (about 5 miles) and I would say every 8-10th time I get a puncture. Next time you are on a road, examine the sides - they're WREAKED!!! Everything from loose gravel to nuts and bolts are all over the place waiting to hit your tyre.
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