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Giro d'Italia: A look back at Stephen Roche's 1987 victory

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Roche lifts the winner's trophy

Roche lifts the winner's trophy (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Former Tour and Giro winner Stephen Roche is looking to implement changes in cycling

Former Tour and Giro winner Stephen Roche is looking to implement changes in cycling (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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1987 Giro champion Stephen Roche dons the final maglia rosa.

1987 Giro champion Stephen Roche dons the final maglia rosa. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Stephen Roche after securing final overall victroy in Saint-Vincent

Stephen Roche after securing final overall victroy in Saint-Vincent (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Roche and Millar on the podium

Roche and Millar on the podium (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Visentini follows Roche over the line in

Visentini follows Roche over the line in (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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A rain-soaked Visentini after losing the pink jersey to Roche

A rain-soaked Visentini after losing the pink jersey to Roche (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Visentini seemed relaxed early in the race

Visentini seemed relaxed early in the race (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Visentini talk before the start of an early stage of the Giro

Visentini talk before the start of an early stage of the Giro (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The Carrera team was initially divded but went on to back Roche

The Carrera team was initially divded but went on to back Roche (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Roche goes deep to secure victory on stage 21 to Pila with Marino Lejarreta and Robert Millar

Roche goes deep to secure victory on stage 21 to Pila with Marino Lejarreta and Robert Millar (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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A young Hein Verbruggen was on the podium the day Roche wore the pink jersey

A young Hein Verbruggen was on the podium the day Roche wore the pink jersey (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Roche savours his moment as winner of the 1987 giro d'Italia

Roche savours his moment as winner of the 1987 giro d'Italia (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Roche took pink, while robert Millar won the green climber's jersey and was second overall

Roche took pink, while robert Millar won the green climber's jersey and was second overall (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Roche needed police protection at some stage finishes

Roche needed police protection at some stage finishes (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Roche won over the tifosi by speaking Italian on television

Roche won over the tifosi by speaking Italian on television (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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The final 1987 giro d'Italia podium

The final 1987 giro d'Italia podium (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Visentini after a stage

Visentini after a stage (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Roche rides alone in the pink jersey

Roche rides alone in the pink jersey (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Stephen Roche at the Giro team presentation

Stephen Roche at the Giro team presentation (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Roche is about to begin the opening time trial in San Remo

Roche is about to begin the opening time trial in San Remo (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Visentini started the Giro in pink after winning the 1986 race

Visentini started the Giro in pink after winning the 1986 race (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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A happy looking Roche early in the race

A happy looking Roche early in the race (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Roche poses with early race leader Erik Breukink

Roche poses with early race leader Erik Breukink (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Roche was popular with the tifosi before taking the pikn jersey from Visentini

Roche was popular with the tifosi before taking the pikn jersey from Visentini (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Early in the Giro d'Italia everyone seemed happy in the Carrera team

Early in the Giro d'Italia everyone seemed happy in the Carrera team (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Roche celebrates victory in the team time trial with his Carrera teammates

Roche celebrates victory in the team time trial with his Carrera teammates (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Roche enjoys a moment on the podium

Roche enjoys a moment on the podium (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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A nervous-looking Stephen Roche resplendent in the pink jersey following stage 17.

A nervous-looking Stephen Roche resplendent in the pink jersey following stage 17. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Mountains leader and eventual runner-up Robert Millar, left, and Giro leader Stephen Roche would form an alliance of sorts in the 1987 Giro endgame.

Mountains leader and eventual runner-up Robert Millar, left, and Giro leader Stephen Roche would form an alliance of sorts in the 1987 Giro endgame. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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No STI shifting yet...Maglia rosa wearer Stephen Roche shifts gears while riding alongside Tony Rominger, center, and Johan van der Velde, right.

No STI shifting yet...Maglia rosa wearer Stephen Roche shifts gears while riding alongside Tony Rominger, center, and Johan van der Velde, right. (Image credit: Sirotti)
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Giro d'Italia leader Stephen Roche talks to the press after stage 11.

Giro d'Italia leader Stephen Roche talks to the press after stage 11. (Image credit: Sirotti)

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.