herald

Thursday 21 September 2017

Tough week home and away for sport

They say a week in politics is a long time, but in the world of Irish cycling the past seven days felt like an eternity.

First the horrific crash on stage two of the FBD Insurance Rás when an innocent motorist became involved in a crash. A number of cyclists became entangled in his vehicle on a Co Leitrim road early on Monday afternoon. But for the grace of God and the medical attention rendered at the scene, things could have been a lot worse.

Following that came the sad news from Thailand that former Irish international cyclist David Hourigan had been found dead in his apartment by a friend. A young man, far from his native Limerick, had departed this life.

David brought immense joy to the cycling scene and in 1992 he became the only Irishman to win the Manx Grand Prix on the Isle of Man.

His former Ireland team-mate Darach McQuaid said: "I remember the day well. Both David and myself were on the Irish team, what a talent, and to win against the best on that day brought joy to Limerick. He was a unique talent. To his parents and brothers the pain of his loss is immeasurable, but the cycling family has lost one of their own."

Then, of course, there was the hydrogen bomb dropped on the cycling world by Floyd Landis, who was stripped of his Tour de France win in 2006. For years he denied any inappropriate action and went to the highest courts in the world to defend his integrity.

He publicly admitted during the Tour of California last week to having doped during his most successful years as a cyclist. In addition to coming clean about his own past, Landis levelled charges against several of his former US Postal and Phonak team-mates, as well as officials in the upper echelons of the sport's governing body, the UCI.

Where will the next exposé come from?

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