On the 30th anniversary of his controversial victory, our fifth Friends Special of 2017 is an interview with 1987 Giro d’Italia winner Stephen Roche.

It was controversial because Roche, in an echo of the 1986 Tour de France, where Bernard Hinault battled Greg LeMond, ended up taking on his Carrera teammate, the defending champion and home favourite, Roberto Visentini.

Over the course of the 1987 Giro Roche and Visentini became bitter rivals: there were dirty tricks, skulduggery, hostile fans and a mysterious crash that eventually ended Visentini’s race (Roche makes a subtle distinction: Visentini “didn’t crash,” he suggests. “He fell off.”).

Much of the controversy centres on one day in particular, stage 15 to Sappada, and Roche gives a detailed account of his actions. “I didn’t attack Visentini,” he argues. “I just rode down the hill faster than him.”

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