Retro Photo of the Day: Criterium International 1987

Photo: Presse Sport, from Cyclisme International No. 15, May 1987
Kelly & Roche.   Yikes..was it really 24 years ago?
Somewhere over there back then I picked up a copy of the old French magazine Cyclisme International featuring this great photo in a race report called "Cocktail Irlandais."

I rescued it from my basement flood damage back in April.
"Sorry honey, any and all cycling memorabilia from '87 has to stay.  No discussion."

It was day that would be the hors d'oeuvre to a year that was the apex of Celtic cycling.

'87 was the year Stephen Roche won Giro, Tour and Worlds.  Sean Kelly took the Nissan Classic back home, and very likely would have won the Vuelta d'Espana if a saddle boil hadn't forced his abandon while in the leaders jersey.  No worries though, he simply came back to win the Vuelta in '88.

U2's Joshua Tree was on the top of the charts, and Kelly and Roche were 1 and 2 on the UCI rankings.  It was a particularly good year to be Irish.

In this Criterium International the two got away in the mountain stage in the morning of day two in the Col de Vence just above Nice.  See ya boys.  At the finish Golz, Fignon, Bauer, Criqielion, Simon were all about 40 seconds or more behind.  In the afternoon time trial, the two Irish stars had a rematch of their Paris Nice Col d'Eze TT duel a few weeks before, with Kelly this time reversing the order, beating his friend and countryman by 10 seconds, and clinching the overall for the third time in five years.

A great study in climbing concentration, both champions in their distinctive styles.   While their climbing styles may stand the test of time, their gear does not.   Both using Vittoria shoes, remember those?  Great shoes.  Clipless pedals were starting to become prevalent, but both still chose clips and straps.    Kelly on his trusty aluminum Vitus with full Mavic group.   Roche on his Carrera team issue steel Battaglin.


  1. Great Photo!

    Vittoria Shoes were terrific. They are still being manufactured and are making a comeback in the US:

  2. 1987 was the year I started road cycling after racing BMX for a few years. I remember seeing a Battaglin in Carrera colours at my LBS and wanting it so badly.

    Just loved those years.


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