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54th World Championship Road Race 1987

 
   
 

By Barry Boyce, CyclingRevealed Historian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roche Completes a “Merckxian” Year

1987 was HIS season.  Irishman Stephen Roche had conquered the Giro d’Italia AND the Tour de France.  He came to Villach, Austria with a rare opportunity to capture cycling’s “triple crown”. 

The peloton lined up for the start under heavy rain for a 23 laps of a 12 kilometer circuit.  The race exploded under the relentless pressure of the Irish team.  Attacks and counter-attacks were plentiful on laps 18 and 19.  But with 2 laps to go the elites of the race upped the speed to nearly 50 km/h and shattered the remaining pack. 

The finish line crowd roared its approval for the aggressive riding as the leaders started the final lap of the race.  The final breakaway occurred on the last climb of the race when 13 riders including Roche, teammate Sean Kelly, and defending champion Moreno Argentin, opened the winning margin.  Inside the final kilometer Roche launched a desperate jump for the line.  With 600 meters Kelly and Argentin looked at each other while Roche moved away. 

Irishman Stephen Roche strained for every ounce of energy and crossed the finish line one second ahead of a hard charging Moreno Argentin. 

Roche’s surprise victory not only capped one the most exciting World Championship races, but climaxed one of the best seasons for an individual rider.  Stephen Roche took his place in the record books along side the great Eddy Merckx by winning cycling’s “triple crown”.

WCRR September 6, 1987
276 Km [ Villach, Austria ]

1. Stephen ROCHE (Ire) 6h50’02”

2. Moreno Argentin (Ita) +1”

3. Juan Fernandez (Spa)

Starters: 168
Finishers: 71
Average Speed: 40.390 km/h

 

 

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