For most of the twentieth century, professional cycling was dominated by riders from the traditional heartlands of France, Italy, Belgium and Spain, but in the 1980s two young men from Ireland, a cycling backwater, emerged from obscure beginnings to dominate the sport: Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche.
Here, and on the thirtieth anniversary of Stephen Roche’s golden year, in which he won the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and World Championship, in The Ascent journalist Barry Ryan investigates how and why the nation was gripped with the cycling bug at this particular time. He lays bare the remarkable story of Roche and Kelly’s ascent.
Based on new and exclusive interviews with Kelly and Roche themselves, as well their teammates, rivals and confidantes, including Paul Kimmage, Martin Earley and Pat McQuaid, The Ascent is the definitive account of Irish cycling’s golden era.
The Irish Times: ‘A Tour de Force’
The Sunday Independent:’These [stories] are gathered together in an outstanding new book that chronicles in unsurpassed detail the golden era of Irish cycling. Comprehensively researched and written with panache, The Ascent by Barry Ryan, a cycling journalist from Cork, will remain the definitive account of this amazing story for at least a generation’.
About the author
Barry Ryan is European Editor at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and other events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is from Glanworth in County Cork.