Stephen Roche named as St Patrick’s Grand Marshal

Tour de France, Giro and World Championship winner to lead parade through Dublin

Stephen Roche is announced as Grand Marshal of the 2014 St. Patrick's Festival Parade.

Thu, Feb 27, 2014, 15:01

Cyclist Stephen Roche has been named Grand Marshal for the 2014 St Patrick’s Festival Parade.

Roche, who was chosen for his “outstanding contribution to the sport of cycling”, will lead a festival parade ‘Peleton’ through Dublin on Monday, March 17th.

Roche said it was a “huge honour” to be chosen as Grand Marshal in the same year Ireland hosts the Giro d’Italia.

“Throughout my career, I have become accustomed to seeing city streets lined with people but this will be a truly unique experience, one that I am greatly looking forward to,” he said.

This year’s Tour of Italy cycling race will stage the ‘Grande Partenza’ or Big Start in Ireland from May 9th to 11th.

Roche came to fame in 1987 when he became the second cyclist in history to capture the ‘Triple Crown of Victories’ winning the Tour de France, The Giro D’Italia and the world championship in one season.

Festival chief executive Susan Kirby said they were “thrilled” to announce Stephen Roche as Grand Marshal and with the Giro d’Italia coming to Ireland, it felt “fitting” to reward the Irish cyclist with the honour. “Stephen has inspired a generation of cyclists in Ireland and has been a great ambassador for the country,” she said.

Roche was inducted into the Giro d’Italia Hall of Fame at a ceremony at the Giant’s Causeway in Co Antrim on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn said the St Patrick’s festival suffered from a “lack of ambition” and described the Merrion Square funfair as “soulless.”

Ms Kirby responded the festival was a collaboration of many cultural activated that appeals “to everyone from 8-80.”

Meanwhile in the US, the New York City and Boston mayors, Bill de Blasio and Martin Walsh, have decided to boycott their St Patrick’s Day parades over the exclusion of gay, lesbian and transgender groups.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he still intends to participate in three parades this year: in Washington, Boston and New York.