The last edition of the Nissan International Classic


1992 Nissan Classic
Seventeen team of five were going to line up for the 1992 edition and what was also seen as likely to be the last of the Nissan International Classic. Seán Kelly, Stephen Roche and Martin Earley were all there. The Irish amateur team had Ian Chivers, Stephen Spratt, Stephen Maher, Eamon Byrne and David Hourigan. Many riders who had contested the world road race several weeks before were going to be there – Steven Rooks (5th in the worlds), Luc Leblanc (7th), Udo Bolts (14th), Erik Breukink (7th in the 1992 edition of the Tour de France), Olaf Ludwig, Rob Harmeling and Peter DeClerq. Kelly was riding for Festina-Cidona with Swiss Thomas Wegmuller, Acacio da Silvia (PL), Theo Akkrtmans (NL) and Ramon Arrieta (ESP). Roche was riding for Carrera jeans with four Italians, Earley was riding for PDM with Breukink and Jens Koerts (NL), Raul Alcala and Falk Boden (Deut). The Panasonic team contained four of the riders who were on the Tour de France team that had won the team time trial – Ludwig, Ekimov, Eric van Lancker and Wilfried Nelissen. The Buckler team had Steven Rooks, Frans Maassen and Eric Vanderaerden while TVM had Gert Jan Theunisse, Eddy Schurer, Scot Sunderland and champion of the Netherlands Tristan Hoffman. Castorama had Leblanc. Adri van der Poel was back with the Tulip team. Phil Anderson was back with Motorola and had just come from winning the GP Isbergues in Northern France.

After the world championships road race, Kelly bypassed the Tour of Catalonia and took a short rest. He said “the form is coming back again now and I am hoping for the best.” Roche had fallen at the race in San Sebastian

Stage 1 Dublin to Dundalk
Roche was in a prominent breakaway attempt with Erik Breukink which was nullified, mainly due to a chase by Kelly’s team. Breukink attacked on Clermont Cairn Hill. Lance Armstrong went after him, then Roche. Armstrong could not stay with Breukink and Roche passed Armstrong and went over the summit 8 seconds behind Breukink. He joined Breukink on the descent and the two worked together but their lead did not go over 50 seconds. The Festina and Motorola teams chased and reeled them in before the peloton hit Dundalk.
At the Carrickmacross sprint, 14 broke away with Roche and Anderson but these were also caught before Dundalk.
Then in the final sprint, Seán Yates led out his teammate Wilfried Nelisson of Panasonic who won the sprint ahead of Phil Anderson and Adri Van Der Poel.

Stage 2: to Galway
Gary Beneke of South Africa broke away and built up a lead of nine minutes but was reeled back. In the final sprint in Eyre Square in Galway, Ludwig lead out Nelisson but they bumped into each other which gave Eric Vanderaerden a chance to renew his sprint. He surged forward and pipped Nelisson on the line.

Stage 3: Galway to Limerick
Edwig van Hooydonk won against Thomas Wegmuller. Nelisson won the bunch gallop 15 seconds behind the two but lost his yellow jersey. Seán Kelly and Stephen Roche are both 29 seconds behind the yellow jersey. Their relationship seems strained as Roche attempted to make a breakaway and each time Kelly was to the fore in chasing him down. Then in the final kilometres, Roche was prominent in reducing the gap to the break of two while Kelly was just sitting on and not participating in the pace making (as Wegmuller is a teammate of his). Roche was in a breakaway at each of two small hills.

Stage 4:to Cork
In Cork, Roche made a great effort but Phil Anderson took the lead. Roche did win the King of the Mountains jersey due to his aggressive riding in his gallant attempt to get away on his own in Cork. “St. Patrick’s Hill is tough and sometimes it seems too long. But it just was not quite severe enough for me to open the gap I wanted to stay away,” Roche said. “Anderson was stronger than I expected and when I couldn’t get away from him and Alcala on the hill, I knew I had no chance with them in the sprint.”

Peter Pieters (Tulip) led the race for 100 miles and even had a gap of 15 minutes but he was swept up before the finishing circuit in Cork that included St. Patrick’s Hill. Thomas Wegmuller and Lance Armstrong started the chase but were passed by Rob Harmeling, Christian Henn and Andy Bischop who were first up St. Patrick’s Hill. This trio were 28 seconds ahead of the peloton with Kelly, Anderson and Ekimov at the front of the bunch.

On the second ascent of the hill the gap was down to 10 seconds and Roche was leading the bunch which was strung out behind him. On the third ascent, Roche was then in a break with eight others after the top of the bunch caught the break. He was with Harmeling, Henn, Tchmill, Leblanc, Anderson and Alcalá. On the last lap only Anderson and Alcalá could stay with Roche. Phil Anderson won the sprint and the stage with Alcalá second. Tchmill beat Roche in the sprint for third place.

Stage 5:to Dublin
Anderson was able to defend his lead on the final stint into Dublin city and circuits around O’Connell street. Martin Earley went clear at the finale of the twelve laps but was reeled back. Ian Chivers hit the front, then Tristan Hoffman crashed and Andrei Tafi went down. As this happened, Louis de Koning won the sprint ahead of Adri Van Der Poel and Frankie Adreu. Earley was seventh. Roche finished fifth overall and won the king of the mountains competition. Defending champion Seán Kelly finished seventeenth. Phil Anderson had won the Nissan Classic thirteen years after coming second in the Tour of Ireland. Raúl Alcalá was second and Andrei Tchmill was third. Edwig Van Hooydonck was 4th, Stephen Roche 5th, Luc Leblanc 6th, Louis De Koning 7th, Willy Engelbrecht 8th, Martin Earley 9th and Stephane Hennebert was 10th. It was already known that Nissan were finished sponsoring the race. The organisers hoped that they could find another title sponsor and the last week of September 1993 was reserved for the race on the international cycling calender, it was said at the time, in the hope that they would find a sponsror.