Anti-terrorist detectives in Dublin uncovered a huge bomb that was primed and ready to be detonated on Saturday night, leading to speculation that the bombers’ intended target was stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia, which arrived in Dublin on Sunday.
"This was a deadly, full-size bomb which had been wired up and ready for imminent use. If it had gone off it would have caused total devastation," a source told the Irish Independent.
The bomb was concealed in a milk churn in a car in the car park of the Finnstown Country House hotel in Lucan, Co Dublin. It contained 50lb of explosives made from fertiliser and had a timer attached.
The device was found after a 999 call to gardai at about 8.40pm on Saturday night.
Dissident republicans are suspected of transporting the bomb from Belfast to Dublin recently. It is believed the device was going to be moved from the Lucan car park to its intended target.
Although a man with links to the Real IRA has been arrested, it has not been confirmed that the Dublin finish of stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia was the target. But security sources believe that the bombers may have planned to stage a city centre atrocity to attract worldwide attention.
With hundreds of thousands of fans lining the streets of Dublin for the Giro and a worldwide audience estimated at up to 125 million, an attack on the race would certainly have fulfilled that aim.
According to security sources, the device, made safe by an Army Bomb Squad, was fitted with a Timer Power Unit, a hallmark of all major IRA bombs. Also known as a "safe to arm" switch, the TPU can be set to detonate at a given time, which can range from a few hours to several days or even months after it is set.
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.