Saturday, March 12, 2011

Earley, the third Irishman...

Back in the days of yore, my days of yore anyway, there was this third Irishman in the professional peloton. He rarely received the attention that his two better known compatriots, Kelly and Roche did, but he was a consistent racer. He fought his battles in the trenches, often in the service of his team leaders, and did so well enough to gain some victories and successes over the course of his career. That man is Martin Earley.

Martin was a fixture of the professional peloton between 1985 and 1996, but also had some good years in the amateur ranks, during which he took wins at the Junior Tour of Ireland (G.C.), the Shay Elliot Memorial Race, and a stage of the Ras Tailteann. Earley had many top 10 finishes during his pro career in major races, including stage wins at the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia. Other wins came at the Tour of the Basque Country, Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Tour de Vaucluse, Vuelta a Galega, and the Tom Simpson Memorial. His final win came in 1994 when he won the Irish National Road Race Championship. I have that TdF stage win on dvd fortunately, because it was the year of Greg Lemond's narrow win over Laurent Fignon; unfortunately, other than Earley crossing the line with arms raised, it does not show much more of the stage. Earley was also one of those racers who was able to transition between disciplines - following his road years he had a go at mountain biking, racing with the Raleigh Team, and managing a 25th placing at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

When it eventually came time for retirement from the professional ranks, Martin has taken up a career in sports therapy, and coaching for cyclists such as Irish Olympians Robin Seymour and Tarja Owens. He has also maintained ties to the sport by participating in various cyclo-sportive events during the year. in 2008 he was interviewed before one such ride, the Tour of Kildare: "These are the kinds of riding I like to do now... I try to enjoy whatever I do and don't try to kill myself. Those days are long gone." Slainte, Martin.

Some Martin Earley on the web:

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