Tuesday, 2 July 2013

"It's a big thing" - Shay Elliott takes Yellow 1963

The 25th of June 1963 was a momentous day for Irish cycling. That was the day that an Irish rider first slipped on the coveted Maillot Jaune of the Tour De France becoming, for the four following stages, the most important man in the cycling world

That Irish rider was, of course, the great Shay Elliott.

As it happens, there was an ITN reporter in the velodrome at Roubaix that day, reporting for a non-cycling, English audience on this exotic, foreign event "The Round France Bicycle Race". Although the tone is more than slightly patronizing at what the reporter seems to think a display of crass commercialism for the unwashed, French masses, this film is a gem for Irish fans as it shows that historic moment when Shay takes the stage and the jersey, even if they do play "God Save the Queen" as his anthem.

It would be twenty years before another Irish man, Sean Kelly, pulled that garment on again so Shay really was a trailblazer.

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