May 17, 2012
Powerful Lineup and Tough Route Point Towards Dramatic An Post Rás
|Gedlimnas Bagdonas 2011|
With four former race winners and seventeen foreign teams lining out in Dunboyne this Sunday for the start of the sixtieth edition of the An Post Rás, a very high standard is guaranteed for the race, as well as an unpredictable and suspense-filled outcome.
Last year’s champion Gediminas Bagdonas proved he is in top shape for the defence of his title by winning the Puivelde Koerse in Belgium this week. The Lithuanian will compete again with the An Post Grant Thornton Sean Kelly team, and with the race also being sponsored by its chief backer An Post, he will be very highly motivated to succeed.
Bagdonas will be joined by four strong Irish team-mates, namely Ronan McLaughlin, Sean Downey, Connor McConvey and Sam Bennett, who became one of the youngest stage winners ever when he triumphed into Clara three years ago.
|David McCann 2004|
Aside from Bagdonas, three other past Rás champions have confirmed they will take part. 2004 race winner David McCann is the second most recent Irish victor and, after recovering from a bad crash in the Tour of Korea, will lead the Taiwan RTS Racing team. 1997 champion Andrew Roche will compete on the Isle of Man Bikeline p/b Microgaming team, while 2009 winner Simon Richardson will be part of the British IG – Sigma Sport squad. More>>
|Andrew Roche 1997|
May 14, 2012
Irish Sports Council Supports An Post Rás
When the final stage of this year’s An Post Rás finishes in the Skerries on Sunday 27th May one of the riders most likely to win a professional contract in the coming months will be the one to don the Irish Sports Council's white jersey as the most promising young rider of the race.
|John Treacy Irish Sports Council|
The coveted jersey will reflect the Sports Council's financial support for the race, which is one of the select group of world races eligible to award qualifying points for World Championships and Olympic Games.
Commenting on the funding, Irish Sports Council Chief Executive, John Treacy, said “The Irish Sports Council is delighted to continue its long relationship with the An Post Rás, one the outstanding sports events hosted in Ireland annually. The Council is delighted to be associated with the Young Rider jersey, a prestigious and important element of the Rás that has seen some top quality winners in recent years”. He also praised An Post’s support for Irish cycling. More>>
May 11, 2012
Mayo Centra Team Launched For An Post Rás
For the first time ever Mayo cycling will get a big boost with 2 teams competing in the An Post Rás.
The Mayo Centra team to compete in the An Post Rás was announced after months of hard preparation and racing.
The squad of seven, comprised of Western lakes and Covey wheelers Westport club members, have gone through a full transformation from normal club racers who competed locally to full fledge elite racers. As part of the training the squad has already stepped up to compete at International level races like Rás Mumhan (Kerry 4 day) and the Tour of Ulster (Ulster 3 day). Having the opportunity to race in the 60th edition of the 8 day An Post Rás is the reward for all their hard work.
The team will be led by the experienced Padraig Marrey who headed up the project as coach and organiser and will under take to complete his 10th Rás. More>>
May 10, 2012
Bagdonas Returns To Defend Title As Four Irish Riders Are Selected
An Post Sean Kelly team manager Kurt Bogaert today named his team for the 60th edition of the Rás, which starts in Dunboyne next Sunday, 20th May. Four Irish riders have been named in the side, namely Sam Bennett, Conor McConvey, Ronan McLaughlin and Sean Downey, while Lithuanian strongman Gediminas Bagdonas returns to defend his 2011 title.
|Gsdiminas Bagdonas Rás Winner 2011|
The Belgian based side have been in good form coming into the race with Bagdonas taking second place at the Omloop der Kempen (1.2) in the Netherlands last weekend and all four Irish riders putting in solid team performances to ensure a second place finish for teammate Kenneth Van Bilsen at the Circuit de Wallonie (1.2) in Belgium.
Team manager Kurt Bogaerts admitted that the promising form that some of his riders have shown in the last few weeks made his team selection a very tough decision.
|Sam Bennett Under 23 National Champion|
“Deciding on the team for this year’s Rás was not an easy task. It is a race in which all of the riders want to be involved in, but unfortunately I can only select five to compete”, Bogaerts said.
While he also felt that the team’s experience in Bagdonas’ overall win last year will be a huge boost ahead of this year’s race.
“I think experience will play a vital role in the outcome of this year’s Rás. Bennett and McLaughlin were both involved in Bagdonas’ overall win last year, while McConvey finished top U23 rider and 4th overall in 2010 and Sean Downey was the highest placed Irish rider last year.”
May 4, 2012
Strong Teams From Denmark, Norway And Morocco Rás An Post Rás
|Magnus Borresen Norway|
With time ticking down to the start of the 2012 An Post Rás in sixteen day’s time, three more strong international teams have been announced for the race.
|Christain Jersild Jensen, Denmark|
Pro teams (UCI Continental) Denmark Blue Water Cycling and Norway Team ONECO Mesterhus and the first-ever appearance of a Moroccan national team raise the number of international squads announced to fifteen, and point towards this year’s race as being an extremely competitive and unpredictable one.
Norway Oneco Mesterhus will be led by Magnus Břrresen, the 2010 Norwegian under 23 champion, who was second last year in the 1.2 ranked Rogaland Grand Prix.
He will be backed up by 2012 Tour of Malta stage winner Andreas Landa, 2011 Amore Vita competitor Kristian Forbord, 2011 Norwegian under 23 championship bronze medallist Christian Hannestad and Krister Hagen, winner last year of the Tonsberg four day race.
“We go to Ireland with a goal to win stages and at least one jersey,” said team manager Lars Junker. “We have very good sprinters and climbers so we really want to get some of the jerseys.
|Former Junior World Champion, Lasse Norman Hansed Denmark|
“To lead these crazy Vikings we got a good and experienced captain in Magnus Břrresen; we want to take some scalps because that’s an old Norwegian Viking tradition!”
|Adil Jelloul Morocco|
After racing in Spain, Malta, Holland, Denmark and Norway, the team will do the 1.1-ranked Rogaland GP on May 13th as its final big preparation event.
Scandinavian neighbours Denmark Blue Water Cycling will feature the experienced 34 year old Jacob Nielsen, who was second in the world junior road race championships back in 1996 and has won many UCI races since.
Former junior world track champion Lasse Norman Hansen is also on the team, and travels here after being up against Ireland’s Martyn Irvine in the omnium event at the world championships in Melbourne. He was third there, sealing his place alongside Irvine in the Olympics, and will seek to ride strongly in the An Post Rás as part of his buildup for London 2012.
Apr 27, 2012
Swiss Team Promise Attacking Role In An Post Rás
As the days tick down to the start of An Post Rás on Sunday 20th May, the Swiss pro (UCI Continental) team, Atlas Personal – Jakroo, has confirmed they will ride in the big 8 day international cycle race. The Swiss outfit join teams from Britain, Denmark, France and New Zealand, already announced to compete against each other.
The five riders selected by the team management should be in optimum shape as they are currently on a programme of races to prepare specifically for the Rás.
Swiss rider Pirmin Lang (23) and the 27 year old Frenchman, Nicolas Baldo will be the protected riders, having performed well in the past. Lang won the 1.2-ranked Antwerpse Havenpijl last year and was also fifth on a stage of the Tour of China (2.1). Baldo rode well in the 2010 Rhône-Alpes Isčre Tour, netting second on a stage and in the overall classification, and also finished second on a stage there in 2011. His runner-up slots also include one in the 2010 La Roue Tourangelle. Those near-misses will sharpen his determination to pick up a win in Ireland.
Our team captains will be Pirmin Lang and Nicolas Baldo, said the German Florian Salzinger, who is both a rider on the team and involved in bringing the team to Ireland to race. More>>
Apr 20, 2012
Five Strong British Teams Aim for An Post Rás Success
|Peter Hawkins IG Sigma Sport|
Winning British squads from two previous editions of the An Post Rŕs will race as a strong set of UK registered teams travelling to Ireland for next month’s race.
|Philip Labery Node4 Giordana|
The Rapha Condor Sharp team, 2009 victors with Simon Richardson are returning and targeting success. So too are the UK Youth Pro Cycling squad, which helped Alexander Wetterhall to success in 2010 (then titled Team Sprocket).
They are joined by the Node 4-Giordana Racing team, IG Sigma Sport and Metaltek-Scott. Together the five squads will be amongst the strongest in the race, and will play a major part in shaping the final outcome.
The Rapha Condor Sharp team will be led by John Herety, a former professional who has guided several riders to Rás victories. UK-based Irish rider Felix English will be one of his five riders. English recently won the final stage of the Tour of the North and is psyched to ride well in his first edition of the top Irish event.
|Felix English Rapha Condor Sharp|
Luke Grivell-Mellor, who took the Under 23 classification of the Tour of North, will also be part of the team, as well Richard Handley, Mike Cuming and Christopher Jennings.
|Stephen Halpin Metaltek-Scott|
“It is my intention to bring a young team, which is all part of a change of focus for the Rapha Condor Sharp Team in 2012,” said Herety, who will be one of the most experienced managers in the race. “We will be targeting the Irish Sports Council U23 White Jersey Competition.” More>>
Apr 12, 2012
McCann And Olympic-Bound Irvine To Lead Taiwan RTS Racing Team In An Post Rás
|David McCann Rás Winner 2004|
Days after he sealed his qualification for the Olympic Games by finishing seventh at the track world championships in Melbourne, Ireland’s Martyn Irvine has been confirmed as part of a strong Taiwan – RTS Racing team for the An Post Rás.
|Martyn Irvine Olympic-Bound|
The 26 year old will join up with another accomplished Irish rider, past Rás winner David McCann, who over a long career has been one of Ireland’s best international competitors.
The team will be completed by the 28 year old Scottish climber Alex Coutts, who won the Tour of Thailand in 2008, plus the Taiwanese duo Chang Wei Yi and Huang Chin Lung.
“Stage wins will be the first priority,” said multiple national champion McCann, who won the overall title in 2004 and who has taken multiple stage wins in the race. “I’m not sure if the team would be able to defend the jersey. But if it works out to be able to go for the overall, then why not?”
Irvine has focused largely on track racing in recent years, this dedication leading to his qualification for the London Olympics in the multi-event Omnium discipline, but has also clocked up important road results. He won stage seven in last year’s An Post Rás with a superb solo attack, and has also been national criterium champion for the past two years. More>>
Apr 6, 2012
German And Dutch Teams Add To Strong International Lineup Of An Post Rás
|Michael Vingerling Koga Holland|
With a month and a half remaining before the start of the 2012 An Post Rás, the Germany Bike Aid cycling team and the Netherlands Koga cycling team have been confirmed as the third and fourth of the international squads for this year’s race.
|Kia Exner Germany Bike Aid|
Both will be making their debuts in the world-ranked event, and are determined to post strong showings in the eight-day race.
The German Bike Aid team will be led by the all-rounder Christian Poth and the sprinter Marius Prünte. The latter won five races last year and clocked up thirty top ten placings; he was also the regional champion of Nordrhein-Westfalen and finished sixteenth in German Road Championship 2011.
Poth is an all-rounder who won the Köln-Schuld-Frechen in 2010. They will be joined by nineteen year old Kai Exner, who in the past finished second and third in the German junior time trial championship, former GP Ostergaaard Lux winner Matthias Schnapka and the climber Timo Schäfer, a multiple regional champion in road race and cyclo cross.
“The goal of the team for An Post Rás is to be aggressive, to put our riders in breakaway groups and to take high placings in at least one stage,” said Schäfer, a rider who also has a role as the team's co-ordinator.
Mar 28, 2012
Ambitious Czech Republic AC Sparta Praha Team Returns To An Post Rás
Two years after the Czech rider Jan Barta placed a fine third overall in the race, a squad from that country will line out in this year’s An Post Rás with big ambitions.
The AC Sparta Praha has confirmed both its participation and its likely lineup for the world-ranked race, and will draw on its own previous knowledge of the event.
In 2007 several of its riders took top ten placings on stages, including third place finishes on stages one, four and seven by Petr Pucelik, Tomas Hruby and Ondrej Pavek. Josef Soukup was also fourth in the final leg of the race.
Of those, Pavek will return this year, as will Rostislav Krotky, who was third on a stage in 2005. More>>