Stephen Roche Launches New Born to Ride Autobiography
by Henry Peacock. Photos: Dan Tsantilis
The official launch of Stephen Roche’s book, Born to Ride, took place last night [Wednedsay 30th May] at the Bloomsbury Hotel in Central London. Some famous faces and personalities from the cycling and journalism world were in attendance, including 1988 World Champion Maurizio Fondriest. The evening was organised by HotChillee and hosted by Eurosport's David Harmon. Chain Reaction Cycles sponsored this glitzy event.
Maurizio Fondriest, Stephen Roche and Pete Cossins
Born to Ride, Stephen Roche’s first full autobiography uses his best year as the starting point to explore the rest of his life. He doesn’t hold back as he examines the many ups and downs of his time on and off the bike, scrutinising victories, defeats, rivals, serious injury, doping allegations and agonising family breakdown.
The Triple Crown is a prize so exclusive only one other man has achieved it; the fabled Eddy Merckx. They are the only two to ever win two grand tours and the World Championship in a single season. 25 years on from this event, Roche said, “It felt the right time to tell everyone how it happened and what was going on behind the scenes”.
adidas' Mark Sinclair and Sky News anchor Dermot Murnaghan
The first stage of the Triple Crown was the Giro d'Italia; Roche became the only rider not from mainland Europe to win the race; he took three stage wins (including a team time trial win). “It just wasn’t something that happened every day, especially for an Irishman," he explained. Despite his stage wins, the race is remembered for the stage into Sapadda, where Roche, against team orders broke away alone early, got caught late in the race, but then had the strength to go with the counterattack and take the pink jersey from Viscentini who had been previously leading the classification. This act vilified him in the eyes of the Italian tifosi.
David Harmon talks to Stephen Roche
The night was introduced by David Harmon who asked Stephen about the historic battle between himself and Roberto Viscentini, the backdrop to this interview being the infamous photo taken at the Giro, which shows both men from the same team attacking up separate sides of the road. “I couldn’t be seen to be attacking him, and the whole peloton was laughing at us," joked Roche. This response brought laughs to all. The '87 Tour de France Roche won was by one of the narrowest margins at only 40 seconds.
David Harmon asked Marizio Fondriest, the 1988 World Champion and Milan San Remo winner who rode for Roche in his Triple Crown year, what it was like. “It was crazy to watch and be part of it, I mean I was just a young guy and I was riding for Stephen, you always did what you were told and you knew Stephen would reward you if you did your job," he explained. In response to Maurizio’s claims that Stephen attacked on a particular stage, Stephen’s playful side showed: “I didn’t attack I just rode faster than everyone”.
The night was a big hit
The final hurdle for Roche was to win the World Championship at Villach in Austria. He had been working for his Irish friend and team mate Sean Kelly covering breaks when he landed himself in a good breakaway. Attacking solo 500 metres from the line, he crossed it to join Merckx in the history books.
Sven Thiele, the founder of global events company HotChillee, said: “Stephen is part of our HotChillee family and we are so happy that he is able to tell everyone about his experiences as a professional. He always attends our HotChillee events and is still quite handy on the bike."
Sven Thiele, founder of HotChillee
The book is available for pre-order on 7th June 2012. The publishers Random House are very pleased with Stephen and the way the cycling book market has grown, saying: “It’s grown 50 percent in 18 months and there has never been a better time to release."
The man who helped Stephen write the book, Pete Cossins, explained how he and Stephen met and what it took to get all the memories and encounters down on paper. "At the heart of the book lies an enigma. For all his charm and rare, natural talent, beneath the surface lies an incredible tenacity and determination. Roche finally reveals himself as a smiling assassin; a master-strategist who lives to attack," he told the audience.
All who attended had a very enjoyable night; Stephen will be doing book signings throughout the coming month so take your chance to meet the man himself.
For more information on Born to Ride visit Random House Publishing.
With thanks to Chain Reaction Cycles: www.chainreactioncycles.com
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