Throughout the 1980s, two Irish riders were dominant in Paris-Nice. Stephen Roche and Sean Kelly won the race consecutively from 1981 to 1988. However, there has been no Irish winner since, and in fact the last individual Irish stage win was 25 years ago, when Stephen Roche won the final stage of the 1989 race on the Col d’Eze.
Miguel Indurain (Reynolds) had taken over the leader’s white jersey from Marc Madiot (Toshiba) on the 5th stage to Saint Tropez having broken away on the stage with Gerard Rue (Super U). Indurain had also gained time the previous day to Mont Faron having broken away with Bruno Cornillet (Z).
Roche tried to break away from Indurain on the penultimate stage to Nice, but was brought back and the stage finished in a bunch sprint.
Indurain looked set for overall victory as he had just one challenger going into the final stage to Col d’Eze, Stephen Roche. However, Roche was 45 seconds behind Indurain starting the time trial up the climb overlooking Nice. Roche did make a good stab of overtaking Indurain to win the race overall. He won the time trial by 32″ from Indurain, but it wasn’t enough.
The following year, Roche came even closer to winning the race, but was beaten once again by Indurain. He did have the consolation though of winning the team time trial with his Histor team.
Below is a video from French TV of the last few stages of the’89 race.