If you watch your cycling on Eurosport, you’ll be familiar with Sean Kelly’s expert analysis. The Irishman knows more than most about how to win a bike race, having amassed some impressive palmarès and racking up nearly 200 victories throughout his career. And now, us mere mortals have the chance to ride with one of cycling’s legends at next month’s new Down 100 ride in Northern Ireland.
The event, which takes place on Sunday 6 June, aims to raise funds for the charity Action Medical Research, and Strangford Lough provides the scenic backdrop to two routes of, respectively, 100 miles and 100 kilometres. Both itineraries follow quiet country roads amid a lansdscape liberally sprinkled with castles, loughs and far-off mountains.
For those too young to have witnessed his career, Kelly was one of the dominant forces in the peloton during the 1980s, a decade in which he won the points competition in the Tour de France four times, the overall title in the Vuelta once and the points competition in that race four times, Milan-San Remo, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Paris Roubaix and the Giro di Lombardia twice each, and Paris-Nice a staggering seven consecutive times.
The cyclist, who since 2007 has hosted his own Sean Kelly Tour of Waterford, is looking forward to riding the new event, saying: “I’m delighted to be taking part in the Down 100 to promote cycling and to support such a worthy cause such as Action Medical Research. Come along for the ride and help establish this great new event and raise much needed funds.”
Mark Trott, UK Cycling Development Manager at Action Medical Research, which has a particular focus on children’s health, added: “We are thrilled to have the legendry Sean Kelly joining us for this new event. The picturesque but challenging route offers a fantastic day’s ride with the added bonus of the chance to ride with cycling royalty.”
More information regarding the event, including how to enter, can be found on the Action Medical Health website, and entry costs £25 with participants asked to raise a minimum of £25 in sponsorship.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.