The following year Éric Caritoux won the Vuelta by the smallest margin ever, he won by six seconds over Alberto Fernández. He might not win but he should take a podium. That stage finish put Kelly in second place, 2.04 back – the perfect position from which to pounce on the race lead in the penultimate day’s time trial – a 30-kilometre individual test from Las Rozas to Collado Villalba, just outside of Madrid. But Roche’s successes that year had little bearing on Kelly at that stage, himself happy on his own trajectory, having won so many races and already regarded as a great. Kelly's first professional race was the Étoile de Bessèges. Pedro Delgado won the Vuelta in 1985. Enter Mr Sean Kelly. Kelly also looks back at some of the notable Vueltas of his own career – including the heartbreak of having to retire in 1987 within sight of victory thanks to, as he put it, “a sore bottom.” He returned the following year with unfinished business in mind and duly became the first – and to date only – Irishman ever to win the Vuelta. “I had to do it because sometimes in the mountains stages, I would lose a little bit of time here and there because my climbing, you know, that was my most difficult part as a GC contender…I’d lose a bit of time on the mountain-top finishes against the little lightweight guys.”. With that group I was in that day, most of the guys would have been not that fast in the sprint. Kelly drives for the win … In 1987, Kelly had come so close to his first win in a Grand Tour. Leader Cubino cracked two days later, on the mountain-top finish to the Pyrenean ski station Estacion de Cerler. I’d been there for a number years, and I had my little niche where I was the Irish guy, and he arrived along,” Kelly says. The Irishman, who was now just 33 seconds behind the lead, wasn’t going to have it all his own way though – the strength in depth of Cubino’s BH team meant that Kelly could take nothing for granted. During the 1980’s, Sean Kelly tussled with Adri van der Poel for the win in many of cycling’s biggest one day races. “It was the perfect scenario really.”, >>> Cycling Weekly is available on your Smart phone, tablet and desktop. The Vuelta has proven a happy hunting ground for Irish riders in the past, with Shay Elliott, Sean Kelly, Deignan, Nicolas Roche and Martin all winning stages there. He gave me a hand-out, which was very much appreciated and I still remember quite well,” Kelly says. Sean Kelly looks at how Tim Wellens got his finish to Stage 14 of La Vuelta spot on to beat Michael Woods to the stage win. Sean Kelly en route to his first Paris-Roubaix win in 1984. Win the race 7 times in a row? Sean Kelly (born 1956-05-24) is a road racing cyclist from Ireland, active between 1972 and 1994. Kelly had not always been a Grand Tour contender. Perhaps it will be one day, but whether any future rider will be able to imitate Kelly’s swashbuckling style – tearing up the bunch sprints, winning summit finishes and time trials alike, and with humility, too – seems unlikely. Sean Kelly was victorious in 1988, and the following year Delgado won his second Vuelta. “To have to pull out was a huge disappointment, so 1988 was important for me,” says Kelly of his return when, he says, he definitely felt the pull of unfinished business – not to mention the intent of his Spanish team sponsor Kas. When Kelly took to the 1988 Vuelta start line in Tenerife, he had already taken his customary victory in Paris-Nice (his seventh), and won Setmana Catalana. “I think Jean de Gribaldy takes a big amount of the credit for it, because of the way he worked with me for a number of years to get to that level.”. The inevitable did happen. Jump to. One of them would contend that he won the Vuelta. Having taken the leader’s jersey in the final time trial on stage 18, Kelly was forced to abandon the following day thanks to a painful saddle sore. Thread starter craig1985; Start date Jun 4, 2009; Sidebar Sidebar. Well, that takes something special, and a rider who is a specialist in all of the above. Sentimentality perhaps shrouds Sean Kelly’s vision when he singles out fellow Irishman Sam Bennett as the favourite for the rainbow jersey. 'I was going well that year' "I was going well that year," Kelly tells us, ever the master of understatement. In 1988 this was all the work of one man, in one Grand Tour — the rider being Sean Kelly and the race being the Vuelta a España. Then came his agonisingly close brush with Vuelta victory the following year. Sean Kelly predicts some movement in the general classification in Stage 16 of La Vuelta "You could see time being lost by some of the GC men!" Sean Kelly looks at how Tim Wellens got his finish to Stage 14 of La Vuelta spot on to beat Michael Woods to the stage win. Kelly digs deep on the way to La Ruchere in stage 15 of the 1984 Tour de France. He was also a formidable descender, clocking a career top race speed of 124 km/h, while descending from Col de Joux Plane to Morzine on s… The Vuelta a España (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈbwelta a esˈpaɲa]; English: Tour of Spain) is an annual multi-stage bicycle race primarily held in Spain, while also occasionally making passes through nearby countries.Inspired by the success of the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, the race was first organized in 1935. Sean Kelly recounts the story of Ireland's first ever win in the Vuelta a España to James Shrubsall, This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google, Dan Martin will ride Giro d’Italia for first time since 2014. Who are the bookies’s favourites to win the Tour of Flanders 2021. But 1988 stands out as a year to remember, with Sean Kelly lifting the overall title. Vuelta Ciclista a la Comunidad Valenciana | Stage 4, Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco | Stage 5b (ITT), KBC Driedaagse van De Panne-Koksijde | Stage 1b (ITT), Vuelta Ciclista a la Comunidad Valenciana | Stage 7, Volta Ciclista a Catalunya | Stage 7 (ITT), Vuelta Ciclista a la Comunidad Valenciana | Stage 3, Vuelta Ciclista a la Comunidad Valenciana | Stage 1, Vuelta Ciclista a la Comunidad Valenciana | Stage 5, Volta Ciclista a Catalunya | Stage 7a (ITT), 4 Jours de Dunkerque / Tour du Nord-pas-de-Calais | Stage 2, KBC Driedaagse van De Panne-Koksijde | Stage 2, Tour Méditerranéen Cycliste Professionnel | Stage 3. In order to win both in 1986, Sean Kelly had to be an iron fist in a velvet glove. Kelly digs deep on the way to La Ruchere in stage 15 of the 1984 Tour de France. And it was in the lead that Cubino would stay, right up to stage 16, when it would transfer to his team-mate Anselmo Fuerte. In a performance the like of which is simply no longer seen by GC riders, he was consistently up there, scoring several top-six places including two thirds and a second. The starring characters were Spain’s Pedro Delgado and Scotland’s Robert Millar. While some sprinters remain sheltered in the peloton until the final few hundred metres, Kelly could instigate breaks and climb well, proving this by winning the Vuelta a España in 1988. Colombian Luis Herrera became the first non-European winner of the Vuelta in 1987. Sean Kelly at the Tour of Britain in 1988 (Photo by Mark Leech/Getty Images). Sections of this page. The previous year, 1987, the 30-year-old Irishman from Carrick-on-Suir had come heartbreakingly close to becoming the first Irishman to win a Grand Tour. “If I remember rightly, there were [bonus seconds] at the finish so that was the reason I was sprinting,” Kelly explains. More climbing for Kelly, this time up l'Alpe d'Huez in stage 16 of the 1984 Tour. Previous Next craig1985. Kelly rode with the second section, based more in France because Flandria wanted to sell more of its mopeds, scooters and bicycles there. “There are very few riders who can do the cobbled Classics like Paris-Roubaix or Tour of Flanders and also be a contender or possibly a winner of a And true to form, when Cubino did finally cede the yellow jersey on stage 16, it was to team-mate Fuerte, who had leapfrogged Kelly into second place just two days earlier. It’s not a steep one, and then in the final, it does ease off…it flattens out to the finish. Sean Kelly leads the pack in the 1983 World championships. ... going on to win LBL and the Vuelta. “BH had Fuerte, they had Cubino and they had Alvaro Pino – three guys that were capable of winning. “I thought, look I have to make an effort here otherwise he’s going to take all the glory and the limelight.”, Sean Kelly in 1987 (Photo by Nutan/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images). Sean Kelly's 1988 Vuelta win. “I was more of a sprinter,” says Kelly. It didn’t take long for that to happen. Forums. Ten top-fives; six podiums and two stages. La Vuelta a Espana 2020 - 'What a final - the heavyweight punches' - Sean Kelly lauds Stage 8 finale. His best results are 7x GC Paris - Nice, 16x stage Vuelta a España and 3x Giro di Lombardia. John James Kelly (Carrick-on-Suir, 24 de mayo de 1956), conocido como Sean Kelly y apodado El Rey de las Clásicas, es un exciclista irlandés, profesional entre los años 1977 y 1994, durante los cuales logró 194 victorias.. Comenzó a destacar ya en las categorías inferiores, siendo dos veces campeón nacional y logrando ganar el Giro de Lombardía en categoría amateur. The strongest riders in both camps came together for big races. Kelly came 10th on the first day. “Robert Millar give me a pretty good dig out in the final climb that day. So, you know, I was able to win on those sorts of mountains…that one suited me quite good, the type of climb it was.”. In truth, he excelled at just about everything. The Irishman set out his stall adequately in the 17km prologue with seventh place and then, true to Vuelta form, things got hilly only the next day. “I was a rider who was maybe a bit spoiled,” he reflects. Perhaps most impressively, Kelly finished every single stage in the top 10, on his way to becoming the first Irishman – and the first English speaker – to win the Vuelta. Sean Kelly: seven-time Paris-Nice winner, nine-time Monument victor, and a rare beast – a classics specialist with a Grand Tour win under his belt, namely the 1988 Vuelta a Espana. “When I went to the Kas team, the big boss at the first team meeting said, ‘I want to win a Vuelta — that’s the most important thing for me and my company.’, “And so the pressure was on from the beginning, that was the objective. Well, that takes something special, and a rider who is a specialist in all of the above. Sean Kelly has 159 career victories, the biggest win being Vuelta a España in 1988. The following year Éric Caritoux won the Vuelta by the smallest margin ever, he won by six seconds over Alberto Fernández. That will be good enough for a few sherbets! But Kelly insists: “It’s a power man’s climb. Pedro Delgado won the Vuelta in 1985. I had a lot of achievements. Enter Mr Sean Kelly. “And Jean de Gribaldy, who was the team owner, the team coach, the dietitian, everything… he said to me, ‘Look, if you can lose a lot of weight, then you could possibly win a big tour someday.’ And it all started slowly, working on it over a number of years.”. The year was 1985. The Flandria team was in two parts: the strongest riders, such as the world champion Freddy Maertens, were in the main section, based in Belgium. Kelly gets ready to ride the 1984 Giro di Lombardia. Colombian Luis Herrera became the first non-European winner of the Vuelta in 1987. From that moment – ’87, ’88 – it was the most important race on my programme.”. Looking back now, Kelly is hesitant to call the Vuelta his best ever win – after all, he does have many to choose from. Kelly is a commentator for the English-language services of Eurosport and has established and is involved in the Sean Kelly Cycling Academy in Belgium. Sean Kelly looks at how Tim Wellens got his finish to Stage 14 of La Vuelta spot on to beat Michael Woods to the stage win. (Slideshow route/profile) Kelly flew in from rural Ireland and took the cycling world by storm in the 80’s. Kelly drives for the win … His win would bookend a 1980s halcyon period for Irish Grand Tour men that has not been matched since. Five days before the start of the Spanish tour he’d also won Ghent-Wevelgem – a perfect illustration of Kelly’s capacity for any type of race. 'I was going well that year' "I was going well that year," Kelly tells us, ever the master of understatement. He had been getting consistently closer to winning in both the Vuelta and the Tour, and by the end of 1986, he had been fourth in the Tour and third in the Spanish race, as well as winning six points jerseys overall across the two. Sean Kelly is the only previous Irish overall winner of the Vuelta, in 1988. Case in point – on stage 11, to the Riojan ski resort of Valdezcaray, Kelly won, leading in a small group including leader Cubino, former Vuelta champion Alvaro Pino and twice Tour de France KOM Luis Herrera, of Colombia. Meanwhile, Kelly set about consolidating his GC position the way he did best – by tearing it up in the bunch sprints. I was lucky with my career. 'Sean Kelly is the Rolls Royce of co-commentators': Q&A with Eurosport's Carlton Kirby. But wherever the Vuelta sits in the hierarchy, Kelly, still modest to a fault, reserves the final word on the subject for his mentor. May 6, 2009 8,524 1 0. If Kelly was ever going to win the Ronde, 1986 was the year. >>> Subscriptions deals for Cycling Weekly magazine, But at the outset of Kelly’s pro career, at Belgian team Flandria-Velda, boss Jean De Gribaldy had immediately recognised Kelly’s potential, planting the Grand Tour seed in the Irishman’s head. Ineos Grenadiers were “way off” expectations as a team at La Sean Kelly's 1992 Milano-Sanremo win was one of the most memorable in race history, a daring downhill attack off the Poggio. Kelly never rode the Giro but had started his Grand Tour career the year after he turned pro. In order to win both in 1986, Sean Kelly had to be an iron fist in a velvet glove. In 2006 he launched Ireland's first professional team , the Sean Kelly Team , composed of young Irish and Belgian riders based at the Sean Kelly Cycling Academy in Merchtem, Belgium. Win the race 7 times in a row? Ineos Grenadiers were “way off” expectations as a team at La Vuelta and it cost Richard Carapaz a much better chance at winning the race overall, Sean Kelly has said. So for me, as stage racing goes, the Vuelta will be the most important one on my palmarès. Sean Kelly predicts some movement in the general classification in Stage 16 of La Vuelta. Sean Kelly was victorious in 1988, and the following year Delgado won his second Vuelta. In 1987, Ireland’s Sean Kelly came within a few days of winning the Vuelta a Espana only for an extremely painful saddle sore to force him to pull out of the race with Madrid in his sights. He does admit, however: “The Roche period that probably gave me a kick up the backside was when he appeared, in his first year  and he won Paris-Nice and the Tour of Corsica. (Slideshow route/profile) Kelly flew in from rural Ireland and took the cycling world by storm in the 80’s. Kelly gets ready to ride the 1984 Giro di Lombardia. Kelly beat Fuerte by nearly two minutes to insert himself comfortably into yellow with only the final stage to Madrid left to ride. It started on 7 February 1977 and lasted six days. The Vuelta a España (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈbwelta a esˈpaɲa]; English: Tour of Spain) is an annual multi-stage bicycle race primarily held in Spain, while also occasionally making passes through nearby countries.Inspired by the success of the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, the race was first organized in 1935. It’s a typically modest statement from the man they still call King Kelly. The other actually said: “They preferred to see me lose and a Spaniard win.” Jose Recio, Kelme rider: 'It was one of the weirdest things that ever happened during my… John James Kelly (Carrick-on-Suir, 24 de mayo de 1956), conocido como Sean Kelly y apodado El Rey de las Clásicas, es un exciclista irlandés, profesional entre los años 1977 y 1994, durante los cuales logró 194 victorias.. Comenzó a destacar ya en las categorías inferiores, siendo dos veces campeón nacional y logrando ganar el Giro de Lombardía en categoría amateur. Sean Kelly's 1992 Milano-Sanremo win was one of the most memorable in race history, a daring downhill attack off the Poggio. David Gaudu (Groupama FDJ) won the stage as Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) clung on … three-week tour. More climbing for Kelly, this time up l'Alpe d'Huez in stage 16 of the 1984 Tour. And in case anyone thought they might steal a little time on that last day, the Irishman took fifth place in the ensuing bunch sprint, just for good measure. Four green jerseys in the Tour, multiple stage wins, multiple Monuments won multiple times, not to mention a grand tour win in the Vuelta. Professional Road Racing. Road. Starting out his career as a sprinter, he had enjoyed a supremely successful first half of the 80s as a Classics rider, with two Paris-Roubaix, a Liège-Bastogne-Liège and a Milan-San Remo in his palmarès by the time he took the start line in Santa Cruz, Tenerife, for the 1988 Tour of Spain. Kelly was recruited as a “It suited me because the penultimate time trial, I knew that’s where I was going to be the stronger one and you know, as long as BH had the jersey, it took the pressure off me and my team,” Kelly says. In terms of stage wins, Sean Kelly is the most successful Irish rider in the Tour de France with five. A few months after that, he had to watch countryman Stephen Roche become the first Irishman to win a Grand Tour – two in fact, in the same year – when he won the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France. Sean Kelly says that the decision to demote Sam Bennett on Thursday’s Stage 9 of La Vuelta was the correct one. Sean Kelly has 159 career victories, the biggest win being Vuelta a España in 1988. Sean Kelly and Dan Lloyd discuss La Vuelta after Saturday's Stage 17. Of course, he would have to preserve that pouncing point through the difficult final week, and ideally take a bit more time in the process, despite his obvious ability against the clock. Sean Kelly on Sam Bennett's Vuelta stage relegation by Tipp FM Radio published on 2020-10-30T09:46:37Z Sean Kelly gives his reaction to Sam Bennett being relegated to last place following Vuelta stage win. Kelly managed to hang on, gaining 1.55 on the Spaniard, which he attributes in no small part to a fellow Anglophone rider. This feature originally appeared in the print edition of Cycling Weekly, on sale in newsagents and supermarkets, priced £3.25. Kelly was also the World number 1 for 5 years running (1984-1988). This was compounded by the fact that Kelly, himself one of the big contenders for the Tour, was forced out when he broke his collarbone in a fall on stage 12. The Classic races are another sort of event,” he says. And this wasn’t just Kelly reverting to type – it was part of the plan. The BH team who, with three contenders, were a sort of 80s Movistar equivalent, put Spaniard Laudelino Cubino in the yellow leader’s jersey after he broke away on the Las Canteras pass. That was a real problem because they were using all three to try to work me over.”. Sean Kelly leads the pack in the 1983 World championships. His victories in Paris-Roubaix (1984, 1986) showed his ability in poor weather and on pavé sections, while he could stay with the climbing specialists in the mountains in the Tour de France. Wins in Paris-Nice and, a few years later, the Tour de Suisse, showed that Kelly was on the right road to Grand Tour success – backed up on the ground by slowly improving results in the three-week races. But with Kelly still hovering just 28 seconds back and going nowhere, Fuerte could only wait and hope that the inevitable didn’t happen.