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The Ascent

Nominated for the BGE Irish Sports Books of the Year and the Éir Sports Book of the Year

For most of the 20th century, professional cycling was dominated by riders from the continental strongholds of France, Italy, Belgium and Spain, but in the 1980s, two young men from Ireland rose from obscure beginnings to arrive at the very top of the sport: Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche

Today, they remain indelibly inscribed in the annals of cycling with legacies that include victories at the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and World Championships. But beyond the bike lies an untold story of adjusting to the mores of the professional peloton, of influences shared and of friendships made and broken

Based on new and exclusive interviews with Kelly, Roche and other key players from the time, including their teammates, rivals and confidants, The Ascent is the dramatic story of how a generation of Irish riders scaled heights never reached before or since.


‘A tour de force.’ The Irish Times

‘Intelligent and incisive … a compellingly sharp read.’ Jeremy Whittle, Author of Ventoux

‘A brilliant book.’ Today With Sean O’Rourke, RTÉ

Temporarily unavailable



Publication Date

April 2018




Paperback, 336 pages

Country of Origin



Gill Books


234 x 153 mm


By Barry Ryan

Availability Status

Temporarily unavailable

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.

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