Giro countdown: five days to Belfast
Stephen Roche is the only Irishman to have ever won the Giro d'Italia and with this year's race starting in Belfast and including a stage in Dublin before heading to Italy, it seems only right to look back at 1987 with a special photo gallery and remembered Roche's success.
It was a tense and dramatic race. Roche started the race as second in command at the Carrera team behind 1986 winner Roberto Visentini. The two riders had agreed that Roche would help Visentini win a second Giro d'Italia and then the Italian would ride for Roche in the Tour de France. However when Visentini revealed he had no plan to spend July in France, Roche decided to ride for himself. It sparked a war of words within the team but created an epic version of the Giro d'Italia.
The two riders both wore the leader's pink jersey early, swapping control of the race lead. The tension rose with a crescendo and then exploded when Roche got into a breakaway during the mountain stage to Sappada in the Dolomites and took back the race lead.
Visentini consider Roche's aggressive riding as an act of treason but the Irishman handled the pressure from the tifosi, who spat and hit him during stages, and within the Carrera team to go on and win the final time trial in Saint-Vincent and secure overall victory.
Scotland's Robert Millar was second overall and won the green climber's jersey after helping Roche in the final stages, while Dutchman Erik Breukink was third.
Visentini crashed on the penultimate stage and did not start the final time trial. He never really recovered and has never forgiven Roche for what happened. Roche is convinced he did nothing wrong and went on to win the Tour de France and the world championships, to become only the second rider after Eddy Merckx to complete cycling's triple crown.
Click here to see the full photo gallery.
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