The 1990 Nissan International Classic

PDM-Cidona contained Erik Breukink who won two time trials in the Tour de France that year and finished third overall, with Raúl Alcalá who had won a long time trial also in the Tour of that year. Greg LeMond the winner of the Tour de France was competing along with Thomas Wegmuller the winner of the time trial classic Grand Prix des Nations the Sunday before the Nissan Classic was due to begin. Charly Mottet who was second the previous Nissan Classic would be there. Laurent Fignon, Phil Anderson, Adri Van Der Poel, Eric Vanderaerden, Johann Museeuw, Steve Bauer, Seán Yates, Ekimov and Olaf Ludwig the winner of the green jersey in the previous Tour de France. Martin Earley would be riding with Kelly in PDM. The Z Peugeot team had LeMond, Robert Millar and Ronan Pensec. Overall nineteen teams of five would contest the event. The Irish amateur team would have David Houregan, Mark Kane, Paul Slane, Declan Loregan and Robert Power. There was also an American Squad that contained Dubliners Paul McCormack and Gary Thomas. Stephen Roche would not be competing the event. He had the first of three car rallies at the weekend and hoped to be back racing the following season.

Stage 1:Dublin to Waterford

The first day was the 3rd of October and was also the German day of unification. To mark this, there was a presentation to the six Germans present in the race which included West Germans (Bolts) and East Germans (Ludwig). Greg LeMond pulled out. Dutchman John Lammerts won ahead of Graeme Millar. Twenty five seconds later, Johann Museeuw won the bunch gallop for third place ahead of Olaf Ludwig and Seán Kelly. Three other members of the Z team had to pull out. Kelly would start the following days time trial eighth from last that would go into his native Carrick-on-Suir. LeMond pulled off on the finishing circuit and went to his hotel complaining of a stomach upset. He had received a big appearance fee and the organisers would be disappointed for his fourth poor showing in the event.

Stage 2A:Waterford to Carrick-on-Suir, Stage 2B Carrick-on-Suir to Cork

The following day, Erik Breukink won the 17 miles time trial from Waterford into Carrick-on-Suir. He took yellow with 22 seconds over Yates and Museeuw was in third. The afternoon stage was according to Jim McArdle, Journalist with the Irish Times October 5th 1990, “the most boring I have endured and bordered on being farcial.” The peloton was going from Carrick-on-Suir to Cork. Bruno Cornillet rode at 20 miles an hour and built up a lead of 15 minutes. The local hopes were with Kelly who was 13th in the time trial, one minutes 20 seconds behind teammate Breukink. “My rear axle broke at about halfway and I could not apply full pressure. When I tried to get out of the saddle the wheel rocked from side to side and rubbed the brake blocks. I thought about a wheel change but decided I would lose too much time and so I carried on.”

Before the end of the first lap, Cornillet went off course following the lead car, commissaire and other officals but only for about 150 yards. Behind him the group split on St.Patrick’s Hill. Thirty-three went on which included Breukink, Museeuw, Yates, Kelly, Ekimov and Bauer. Cornillet won the stage with Seán Yates second at 10.03, Phil Anderson was third, Museeuw fourth and Kelly came in tenth.

Stage 3:Cork to Kenmare

It was raining from the start and there was a strong headwind. For the first hour and a half, the bunch covered 25 miles and after two hours had only covered 34 and a half miles. The peloton then swung into the Bearla peninsula toward Castletownbere and the pace increased with a favourable wind. They were all together on the ascent of the Healy pass then a group of seven forged ahead on Molls Gap. This group contained Alcalá, Udo Bolts and Thomas Wegmuller. Kelly led the chargeof the peloton down the Healy pass in Cork. The group of seven gained one minute and five seconds at one point but the gap closed with three laps to go.Johan Museeuw won the bunch sprint that followed down High street in Kenmare. Etienne de Wilde was second and Kelly was third. Kelly said after “I still have a chance, a lot can happen.” Museeuw's sprint and bonus seconds made him a threat – He was now second overall at 22 seconds.

Stage 4:Kenmare to Limerick

Marcus Schleider of the Stuttgart team succeeded in a lone break and won into Limerick. Musseuw won the bunch sprint for second place and in doing so closed the gap on Breukink down to 15 seconds.

Stage 5:Birr to Dublin

The final stage went from Birr to Dublin. Martin Earley and Joe Parkin broke away after 7 miles and built up a lead of 3 and a half minutes at 17 miles but were caught at 36 miles. Then a group of seven broke away and these went out and took the bonus sprint seconds that were available along the way. Musseeuw’s chance to grab the jersey off the back of Breukink diminished as a result. Most of this group of seven were caught after 65 miles into the race but Ron Kiefel and Carlo Bowman kept going and led at Lucan. There was an exciting climax up O’Connell street. Olaf Ludwig won the stage and Seán Kelly was second, Scott McKinley was third. Ron Kiefel and Carlo Bowman had a lead of one minute and 30 seconds entering the finishing circuit but were overhauled on the last of the 13 laps. Ludwig sprinted ahead at the top of Parnell Square. Erik Breukink won with 15 seconds over Johan Museeuw. Sean Yates was third, Viatcheslav Ekimov 4th, Raul Alcala 5th, Frans Maassen 6th, Herman Frison 7th, Steve Bauer 8th, Johan Lammerts was 9th and Seán Kelly was 10th. Kelly said after “I was a bit disappointed with the time trial.”