Sunday 30 January 2011

Kelly the Cannibal - Spring Classics 1984

In recent years a couple of (very) hard men in the peloton, particularly Fabian Cancellara and Phillipe Gilbert, have hinted at their ambitions to win at San Remo, Roubaix and Liege. In general such claims are met with, at best, scepticism on the part of the cycling press. Received wisdom these days is that the rider who can win Milan - San Remo might just have a chance on the cobbles of Paris - Roubaix but not a hope over the hills of Liege - Bastogne - Liege.

In that light the spring of 1984 was remarkable. Ireland's Sean Kelly narrowly missed out at the finish of La Primevera on the Via Roma, leading the bunch in behind lone escapee Francesco Moser, but he bounced back from that defeat to dominate at The Hell of the North and then, in a cool display of tactical patience, out sprinted a very elite group in La Doyenne.

What makes 1984 historic is the fact that, apart from Kelly himself, who won all three races again, not a single rider has managed to bag wins at Roubaix AND at Liege, let alone in the same season.

He really was King Kelly

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