Thursday, 7 January 2010

King Kelly

Sean Kelly is one of the few PRO's that I have ever got star struck over (along with Eddy Merckx). I met him a few years ago and like a star struck groupie I managed to say hello and that's about it. Irony is that he's one of the more approachable guys out there, according to those who know him well.

As a PRO he rode through three decades and saw many changes in both the technology of bikes (and equipment) and how racing changed. I bet 1/2 a hour with him would provide many useful soundbites and thoughts on racing then and today. It's difficult not to like Kelly, as a rider we won many of the important races, and some more than once. I like him because he's earthy, hard working and even today still loves to ride his bike.

AN Post may not be the biggest of Teams but you have to respect a guy who is busy with commentating and charity duties while at the same time being involved in the team. On the subject of the Team, they will be using CRAFT baselayers (or underwear if we are thinking Euro speak) for next season. The CRAFT kit is excellent and are currently my favorite for moisture management.

Some of the UK magazines have been talking about Cavendish as the greatest Sprinter of all time. This maybe true, but it is difficult to compare generations to one another, although we can't help ourselves. Is he the fastest, probably Yes, but this season will see many of the famous lead out train on different teams and this will no doubt influence the speed he is delivered to the last 250m.

Kelly is harder to pigeon hole. It would be easy to call him a Sprinter, winning the Green jersey four times (and the Vueltas Blue jersey 4 times as well) and Milan San Remo twice. But is Kelly the last of the 'Great Ones', able to win Classics (Paris Roubaix, L-B-L and Tour de Lombardi), Grand Tours (Vuelta) and short stage races (Paris-Nice and Tour de Suisse). I am unsure if we'll see this kind of rider again. For me this is a shame as the true all-rounder is what lifts riders such as Merckx, Hinault and Kelly into that 'Great arena'.

I'm not going to waffle on about his results but these great clips shows more than I can say in words. Hopefully at some point I'd like to interview him, then I'll have something to write about.


simon lamb said...

might be wrong here but didn't Sean Kelly also win paris-nice 7 years in a row. Now that is a major achievement. He will always be an inspiration to me a proper cyclist.


La Gazzetta Della Bici

Ron said...

True, Kelly was totally blue collar and really a people's champion. Check out 0.51 seconds of that second video, during the sprint it shows one of the by standers threw something onto the side of the road. Accident or intentional?