Special atmosphere at Leinster Loop as 1,000 cyclists commemorate Roche achievements

The organisers of the Leinster Loop cycle, which took place last Sunday afternoon, are this week celebrating the success of the event.

The organisers of the Leinster Loop cycle, which took place last Sunday afternoon, are this week celebrating the success of the event.

Now in its third year, the event is run in aid of the National Breast Cancer Research Institute and St. Laurence’s GFC, from where the event started.

There were four routes for the more than 1,000 participants, depending on their abilities, from 130km, 90km, 50kms and a family fun 12kms.

And once again one of Ireland and the world’s greatest cyclists, Stephen Roche, attended the event.

He was accompanied by his son Alexis and his nephew Jude jnr, who has recently taken up cycling in a serious way and is expected to do very well.

“There was an absolutely magical atmosphere there,” organiser Esther Tallon explained.

Afterwards in the St. Laurence’s complex everybody, from the cyclists to the 200 volunteers got a hot meal.

“And there was a presentation to Stephen to mark the 25th anniversary of this great achievement in 1987 when he won the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and the World Championships,” she explained.

“Footage from each of those events was shown and each time, there was an enormous cheer as if we were there all over again. It was a really special atmosphere.”

“The weather was perfect on the day and everyone was buzzing and in great form.

“There were cyclists from all over the country.”

Ms. Tallon explained that the event is run on an entirely voluntary basis and that 200 volunteers man the food stops, parking on the day and road marshaling.

There was also a raffle to raise funds. Items such as the time trial suit worn by Nicolas Roche (Stephen’s son) during the Tour de France, as well as Leinster Loop jerseys signed by Stephen and his great rival at the time Pedro Delgado.

“We’re very lucky to have Stephen,” Esther noted. “He’s so generous and he feels right at home here, almost like being part of the parish and the whole set up.”

- Conor McHugh