Cyclist, Stephen Roche selected as Grand Marshal of the 2014 St. Patrick’s Festival Parade!
27th February 2014:
One of Ireland’s greatest ever sporting stars, cyclist Stephen Roche, was today unveiled as Grand Marshal of this year’s St. Patrick’s Festival Parade. Roche was chosen by Festival organisers for his outstanding contribution to the sport of cycling and the Dubliner will lead the Festival Parade ‘Peloton’ on its 2.6 kilometre route through Ireland’s capital on Monday, March 17th.
The announcement caps off a great week for Roche, who officially entered the Giro d’Italia Hall of Fame at an event in Northern Ireland on Tuesday. The tribute to the champion coincides with this year’s Tour of Italy, the second biggest cycling race in the world, which will stage the ‘Grande Partenza’ or Big Start in Ireland from May 9th to 11th. Roche’s success has inspired thousands of cyclists in Ireland, including members of his own family with his son Nicolas Roche and nephew Dan Martin currently competing on the professional tour.
Admired for his pedalling style, Stephen Roche was one of the finest cyclists of his generation, accumulating an impressive 58 professional career wins over his 13 year tenure. 1987 was Roche’s landmark year as he became only the second cyclist in history to capture the ‘Triple Crown of Victories’ winning the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and the world championship in one season. Roche joins a list of inspirational Grand Marshals ranging from Katie Taylor to Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh to Ronnie Drew.
On receiving the Grand Marshal honour, Stephen Roche commented: “I am an extremely proud Irishman and proud to have flown the flag for Ireland throughout my cycling career. It is a huge honour to have been chosen as Grand Marshal for this year’s St. Patrick’s Festival in a year that Ireland hosts the Giro d’Italia. Throughout my career, I have become accustomed to seeing city streets lined with people but this will be a truly unique experience, one that I am greatly looking forward to.”
CEO of St. Patrick’s Festival, Susan Kirby commented: “We are thrilled to announce Stephen Roche as Grand Marshal for this year’s Festival Parade. With the Giro d’Italia coming to Ireland this year we felt it was fitting to reward one of our greatest ever cyclists with this honour. Stephen has inspired a generation of cyclists in Ireland and has been a great ambassador for the country. We wish him all the best in his role as Grand Marshal and hope that he enjoys the special experience.”
Using the current commemorative era as inspiration, St. Patrick’s Festival has created a three-year thematic journey of ‘Past, Present and Future’ over the period 2014, 2015 and 2016. The 2014 Festival Parade theme, ‘Let’s Make History’, draws on the ‘Past’ and is the first step on this exciting, creative journey. In 2015 we will explore our present which leads us into 2016 where we look to the future and the Festival will pose the question, ‘who do we aspire to be in the next 100 years?’
The Festival’s cultural programme ‘I Love My City’ returns to the Festival itinerary this year with a series of inspiring, cultural events and happenings taking place in some of the city’s most beautiful
surroundings. Sixteen eclectic events featuring artists and talents from a variety of disciplines including literature, music, film, song, spoken word, photography, visual art and more will be presented.
Other Festival headline events return including Festival Céilí, Festival Treasure Hunt, Céilí House Live in Concert and Festival Big Day Out. The four-day St. Patrick’s Festival programme is packed full of free events and will take place from 14th- 17th March, culminating at the awe-inspiring Festival Parade on Monday, March 17th.
For more information visit www.stpatricksfestival.ie, download the app, or join the Festival’s official Facebook and Twitter pages.
For further information, please contact:
Kevin Moore, FleishmanHillard on 01 6188499 / 0868252611 or Kevin.firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria McGrath, FleishmanHillard, on 01 6188420 / 0861653055 or email@example.com
NOTES FOR THE EDITOR:
Stephen Roche Biography
Stephen Roche, born in Dublin in 1959, was a professional cyclist from 1981 to 1993.
One of the finest cyclists of his generation and admired for his pedalling style, he captured an impressive 58 professional career wins.
Stephen Roche had a year in 1987 that has been matched by only one rider ever – Eddy Merckx. He won the Triple Crown, winning both the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia and also won the rainbow jersey as world road race champion. Roche’s Tour de France win was the stuff of high drama. In second entering the Alps, with Pedro Delgado close in 3rd, Roche fell off the pace as Delgado attacked up the Villard de Lans. Delgado took over the race, and was the leader on the road, as he opened up a huge margin. But Roche countered and closed to within four seconds of Delgado at the finish. It was an almost superhuman effort which earned him the yellow jersey but also put him in the hospital overnight, requiring oxygen for recovery. However, he recovered enough to race the next day and keep the yellow jersey into Paris. Roche’s career was hampered by knee problems both before 1987 and in the ensuing years. His other major victories included the 1981 Paris-Nice race, the Tour of Romandie in 1983-84, 1987; the 1989 Vuelta al País Vasco, and Four Days of Dunkirk in 1990. Roche retired after the 1993 season, and later owned the Roche Marina Hotel in Antibes on the Cote d’Azur.
In 1994 Stephen Roche and Claude Escalon established Fitness, Velo, Evasion, a cycling holiday and training camp business now known as Stephen Roche Cycling Holidays and Training Camps.
The company based in Palmanova, Mallorca was set up to provide cyclists of all ages and levels of ability with the opportunity to take part in cycle camps and holidays that were fully guided and supported by a professional team of staff.
In his spare time, Stephen is highly involved in charities and cycle challenges. He takes part in three Stephen Roche cycle charities in Ireland: Atlantic Challenge, based in Clare in the West of Ireland, Tour de Cure, based in Cork in the South of Ireland and Leinster Loop, based in Kildare in the Midlands of Ireland.