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If You Like Wind And Rain, Ireland Is The Place To Be
Men of the Rás If you like wind and rain, Ireland is the place to be

The Late Ned Flanagan Remembered
Ned Flanagan
In January, Kildare bade farewell to a true gentleman and great cyclist, Eamon “Ned” Flanagan.

Ned was born in Kildangan around 1940 and was reared in Kilbeg where he lived all his life. He attended Kildangan National School and in the mid 1950s he came to Monasterevin CBS, where he played football with the Monasterevin CBS School team. He was the first Kildangan pupil to do so, as he liked to point out himself. Ned showed promise as a footballer, but by this time his brother Paddy was already cycling competitively. It was natural that Ned would follow him and Jack Crowe into the Midlands Cycling Club, and football was quickly forgotten.

The Flanagan brothers soon made a name for themselves all over Ireland, on grass track, at mass start road races, time trialling and stage racing, and in all of these they formed a formidable team. Ned, known among his oldest friends as “The Butt” was not only strong but as tough as nails.


Shock As Star Cyclist Dies In Crash
Paul Healion Stage Winner
Seven times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has joined the tributes to Meath cyclist Paul Healion, who died in a road crash at the weekend.

The Irish sporting world is in mourning following the death on Sunday night of Mr Healion, one of the country's leading international amateur cyclists, who lived in Kilmessan.

Originally from Dunboyne, 31-year-old Mr Healion was killed in a single vehicle crash at around 10.25pm on Sunday night at Glack, near Ardee, on the Drumconrath Road. His car burst into flames after it hit a tree. The Minister for Sport, Martin Cullen, this week led the tributes from Government and sporting organisations.

Mr Healion was due to take part in the Tour of Ireland which begins on Friday, as a member of the seven-man Irish team. He will not be replaced on the team and a minute's silence will be observed in his memory on the opening day of the race.

Lance Armstrong is also due to participate in the Tour, and on his Twitter site yesterday (Tuesday) wrote: "It was very sad to hear the news of Irish cyclist Paul Healion, who passed away yesterday. Was due to race the Tour of Ireland with us. May he rest in peace." More>>>

The Gene Mangan Story
Competitive cycling may be but one of the minor sports in the calendar of Irish sporting activities, but in its minuteness the N.C.A. has a national strength which far
Gene Mangan
exceeds that of other athletic organizations many times more large.

The young men of the N.C.A. are more than sportsmen engaged in their favourite athletic activity. Their concept of sport has a much wider meaning than that of simple athletic competition. They clearly realise the significance of the fact that their country is being denied the right to nationhood in international competition and in realising this they are one in an earnest endeavour to break through that screen of misrepresentation which hides the true position of Irish athletics from the eyes of the vast majority of fair-minded sportsmen the world over.

This is the story, or at least the beginning of the story, of possibly the greatest and undoubtedly the most versatile of all Irish cyclists. It is the story of a young man who, despite international suspension, is tackling, the cream of world competition and who, I firmly believe, will by his action and by his triumphs, do much to bring before the eyes of the world the injustice which is being perpetrated against Irish athletics. This is a story of sportsmanship, triumphs and true athletic nationalism .... it is the story of the fabulous Gene Mangan of Killorglin. More>>>

Some Tips On How To Become A Road Champion By Gene Mangan
The most essential requirement in the Cycling game is enthusiasm. A cyclist must love the game, and he must give it all he's got or he will never make the grade. No half measures will do, for cycling is an almost full spare-time job.

To be good yon must be fit and to be fit for competitive cycling you must have at least two to three months of diligent and continuous training.

Yes, cycling sure is a demanding sport, but I can assure you it's worth it. More>>>

Shay O'Hanlon Four Times Rás Winner
Jim Killean,President Of The N.C.A. Shay O'Hanlon Rás Winner 1962 And Mick Christle Race Organiser
O’Hanlon rode alone’ is one of the more perceptive observations of Shay O’Hanlon, as offered by one of his contemporaries.
Rás veterans generally like to reminisce about the great Rás riders of their era and, like any sport, the exploits of past masters and the revisiting in the mind’s eye of epic sporting scenes leads to a flow of descriptive and colourful discussion. Enquiry about Shay O’Hanlon, however, provokes a perceptible difference in reaction – a response that hints at an elusive dimension difficult to articulate. His peers, in attempting to describe his qualities as a rider, sometimes struggle to find superlatives; emotion is visibly stirred, while the body language suggests a slight discomfort at an inability to adequately express their sense of him – ‘What can you say about O’Hanlon?’ Personal reminiscences are quickly reverted to – scenes that are burned in the memories of those who rode with him and which might illustrate those subtle qualities: ‘I’ll never forget the day…’

Four outright wins, 24 stage wins and 37 Yellow Jerseys powerfully demonstrate his stature as the most successful Rás rider ever. Such bare statistics, however, merely provide evidence of a phenomenal physical capacity and do little to reveal an equally remarkable intellect. Like the efforts of his peers to signify the essence of O’Hanlon through examples of his feats, the revisiting of a few of the seminal scenes from his Rás career may provide some fleeting illustrations of his combination of acumen and athletic ability which, arguably, produced the most dominant rider ever in Irish domestic cycling. More>>>

Paddy Flanagan Three Times Rás Winner
Paddy Flanagan 3 Times Rás Winner
The world of Irish cycling suffered a tragic loss recently with the sudden death of Paddy Flanagan. The Kildare rider was at the top of the sport for nearly two decades and although he had great success in all branches of cycle sport, he will probably be best remembered for his three victories in the Ras. Only Shay O'Hanlon, with 4 wins, has a better record in Ireland's premier stage race but in some ways Flanagan surpassed the Dubliner, notably in the span of his time at the top, 16 years between his first win in 1960 and his third in 1975. O'Hanlon won first in 1962 and then had a purple period when he took the yellow jersey on the opening stage in 1965 and never lost it for the next three years. It is fitting that Paddy Flanagan should be specially remembered on the Ras website and what better way than to retell the story of those three years. It is also a tribute to another Ras rider who died only a few months earlier. Mick Cahill of Cork was one of the stars of the 1975 Ras and was with Flanagan and O'Hanlon in the break of the race on the final Saturday which gave the Kildare rider his victory. Mick went on to finish 8th overall.

Meeting The Iron Man Of Irish Cycling
Meeting the Iron Man of Irish cycling
I WAS led on a pleasant detour by Caherciveen butcher and golfer Jimmy Curran to meet somebody known as 'The Iron Man', on account of his exploits as a cyclist back in the 1950s. Cycling as a sport was gaining popularity back then, and the annual stage race around Ireland, An Ras Tailteann, now known as the FBD Insurance Ras, was responsible for a great deal of it.

The Christle brothers, especially the late big man Joe, were the principal organisers and their motivation came from a nationalistic fervour and a love of all aspects of Irish culture. They were inspired by the Tour de France and had a vision of developing such a spectacle in Ireland in their time. Joe Christle was a great character and a brilliant organiser and I cannot recall an occasion when we spoke other than in Irish. He was married to a French lady, Mimi Battutt. Years later, I taught Mel Christle, one of Joe and Mimi's three boxing sons, when I was on the teaching staff at O'Connell School in North Richmond St, Dublin. More>>>

The Case Of The National Cycling Association
The case of the National Cycling Association, like that of its parent body, The National Athletic & Cycling Association, is a simple one. It simply demands that Ireland be given her rightful status of nationhood in international competition, and it opposes any attempt to misrepresent, curtail or partition the athletic manhood of Ireland.

Only a body representative of all Ireland can represent all Ireland internationally. Any group or organisation which is confined in its alleged jurisdiction to a part of Ireland does not and cannot represent all of Ireland; and, likewise, neither can any individual athlete who is affiliated to any partitioned organisation, be that organisation of six or twenty-six county origin. One can build good intentions on injustice and it is an injustice to misrepresent one’s country. More>>>

Tales From The Gutter By Greg Roche Rás 2003
Greg Roche In Action During The 2003 Rás
Consciousness comes quickly. I have slept deeply for the first time in three nights and the fever is gone. Going through the motions of getting up, showering and having breakfast, my confidence continues to grow. The residue of fatigue is there, but then I tell myself it’s bound to be. That’s the same for everyone left in the race. I chatted with Luchio at breakfast and he said his legs were aching. Same for everyone, you see.

Luchio asked what happened. I know he’s referring to my ride the previous day. ‘I’m a bad rider’ I explain, only half joking, but he is kind, accepts that I don’t want to say anything more and treats my comment as a throw away line, laughing.

The truth, the full version, is that in addition to being a bad rider, yesterday everything went wrong. I awoke feverous, tired and rode 120km of a mountain stage at the back of the pack feeling dreadful and fearing the main climb of the day which we were to reach at 150km covered. At 120km the main group was riding a hard tempo, ensuring that the two Kazakh riders who had already escaped didn’t build too great a lead. I was happy with this, hanging on, hanging on. It’s a mind game I can play with myself. ‘Ten more minutes and then swing off’; at ten minutes ‘wait until another rider goes out first and sit up with him.’ It’s a hateful existence at the back, but sometimes, when I know I’m ill or having an off day, I content myself with it. My lot in world cycling. There’s always tomorrow, always tomorrow. Bad cyclists are eternal optimists. More>>>

Last Updated: Aug 13th, 2021 - 09:23:23

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