The one thing that I will always remember from the 1998 Tour de France départ in Dublin is meeting the cycling legend Eddie Mercx! I hadn’t been into cycling all that long and here I was as my good friend Julian Torkington told me… “You just met God!!”.
That years race commenced in the Irish capital of Dublin. Prior to the prologue, the Tour was already in uproar, as Festina masseur Willy Voet was found at the Belgian border carrying in his car performance-enhancing drugs. The team nonetheless started the race, placing three riders in the top ten!!!
We only went for the day which meant a drive, ferry and a taxi that seemed to last forever! Once we got there the taxi driver comment was priceless…. “The Tour de France you say…..starting in Dublin…now that’s Irish for you!!!”.
The atmosphere was absolutely fantastic and really felt you was somewhere in France waiting for the race to begin. We of course blagged our way into the temporary race village and got to meet a few of the then superstars!
The place came alive once Chris Boardman who was favourite took to the streets for the prologue which he won, 4 seconds in front of Abraham Olano. Previous year’s winner Jan Ullrich came in sixth, just 5 seconds behind Boardman!
Check out the video 🙂
That year the race overall was won by Marco Pantani, however that’s a whole other story!