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Shay Elliott: The Life and Death of Ireland`s First Yellow Jersey


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2011 was the 40th anniversary of the death of Ireland`s first great road race champion  Shay Elliott  who died in mysterious circumstances at the tragically  early age of 36.   He was one of the very first English speaking cyclists who made a serious impact in the professional peloton  and his exploits have never been fully appreciated  either in the traditional heartland of cycling or in his own country.  

The year after Tom Simpson became the first British rider to wear the race-leader`s yellow jersey in the Tour de France  Shay repeated the feat for Ireland. And more so for not only did he take the jersey after winning the stage over the legendary cobbled roads to Roubaix  but he retained it for three days until  like Simpson  he lost it in the time trial.   Elliott was also the first from the English speaking countries to win stages in the Giro d`Italia and the Vuelta a Espana a race in which he held the race leadership for several days and finished on the podium in third place overall so becoming one of the mere  handful of riders to have won stages in all three Grand Tours.  

His career and life were punctuated equally by success and glory  and by disappointment and betrayal  and ultimate tragedy. However he left behind a rare legacy in professional cycling which until now has never been  substantially documented. This book seeks to redress that lack.  

A decade after his death Ireland produced two exceptional riders  Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche  whose achievements surpassed those of Shay Elliott  but Shay was the first  and will always remain so.
By: Graham Healey
Book: Paperback, 190 pages
Code: 739593