May 16, 2013
Impressive Line-Up And Carefully-Balanced Route PointTo Classic Edition Of An Post Rás
One of the strongest all round fields in the history of the An Post Rás will take to the start in Dunboyne this Sunday, beginning an eight day clash which will captivate the interest of cycling fans in Ireland and further afield.
|Aaron Buggle Rapha Condor JLT|
A total of eighteen international teams from four continents will take part, amongst them world champions, Olympians and many exciting young talents destined for top pro careers.
In addition to those professional and international teams, there will be an additional eighteen Irish county squads participating, these comprising dedicated amateurs who have based their seasons around participating in the race.
Irish hopes of the first home victory since 2008 will be based largely on the An Post Chainreaction Sean Kelly team, the Synergy Baku squad and the Polygon Sweet Nice outfit.
The first of those squads mentioned includes some of the country’s most promising developing riders. Three of which, namely 2009 stage winner Sam Bennett, the in-form Sean Downey and the consistently improving Ronan McLaughlin will be part of the line-up, with the remaining two places to be taken up by New Zealand rider Shane Archbold and the Belgian Nicolas Vereecken
|Sam Bennett An Post Chain Reaction|
The team has won the race twice in the past five years and is highly motivated to do so again.
The Synergy Baku squad is based in Azerbaijan but includes Belfast’s Connor McConvey, who has previously finished fourth and seventh overall in the race, and who has shown strong form this year. He was fifth in the recent Tour of Thailand and then second on a stage and fifteenth overall in the Tour of Azerbaijan.
The Polygon Sweet Nice team was previously registered in Indonesia but as of this year is an Irish Continental squad. It will include Irish hillclimb champion and former best county rider Ryan Sherlock plus Mark Dowling, who was ninth on a stage of the Tour of Taiwan this year. More>>
May 9, 2013
An Post Chain-Reaction Trio Set For Another Strong Rás
Just over a week from the start of this year’s An Post Rás, those in the running for places on what will almost certainly be one of the strongest teams in the race have been named by the An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly team manager Kurt Bogaerts.
|Sean Downey |
Bogaerts has unveiled the names of six riders to start this year’s Rás with that list to be reduced to five on Monday. The team has been very successful in the past, including taking overall victories with Stephen Gallagher in 2008 and Gediminas Bagdonas in 2011, as well as numerous stage wins. The race is always a major target for the team and this will again be the case this year.
Three Irish riders are in that provisional line up and barring any last minute complications, all will take part. They are Sean Downey, Sam Bennett and Ronan McLaughlin, with the other three being the Briton Mark McNally, the New Zealand rider Shane Archbold and the Belgian Nicolas Vereecken.
“We will make the final selection based on the outcome of the Rund um Koln in Germany on Sunday,” Bogaerts says. “Normally the three Irish riders will be part of the squad, though. Sean Downey is coming into shape, finishing fifth in the Circuit de Wallonie on Sunday. That finished on a really steep climb like Seskin Hill and you cannot hide on a course like that, you need really good legs. So I’m pleased with his form.
“Sam Bennett had a tough start to the season as he had an operation on his knee in the winter, but he has been making progress. He was sick a couple of weeks ago but is now healthy again. He has been training a lot and also going to the gym, and I see him as our sprinter for the flat stages.
“Ronan McLaughlin had a really good start of the season. He is really preparing well for the An Post Rás. He is missing a bit of race rhythm because he trained a lot, but his form should be going up.” More>>
May 3, 2013
Powerful Teams From Azerbaijan, The United States And Ireland Announced For An Post Rás
|David McCann Synergy Baku|
As time continues to tick down towards the May 19th start of the An Post Rás, the race organisers have announced the addition of yet more teams for the event, with two teams from Azerbaijan and the US plus an international Irish squad being confirmed today.
|Dan Craven Synergy Baku|
The announcement further raises the quality of this year’s lineup, with many strong squads queuing to take part.
Race director Tony Campbell and his team had previously confirmed fourteen overseas teams for the 2.2 world-ranked race. Today’s news sees the addition of the Synergy Baku, the Polygon Sweet Nice and the Astellas Oncology squads to the start list, and means that the race will be even more competitive as a result.
The Synergy Baku team comes from Azerbaijan but has an Irish flavour to it, with Connor McConvey as a rider, former Rás winner David McCann as a rider and directeur sportif, and David McQuaid as its technical director.
McConvey will be part of the team for the An Post Rás, and will hope to improve on his previous showings in the race. He was fourth in 2010 and seventh last year, and this season showed strong form by netting second on a stage and fifth overall in the Tour of Thailand. More>>
May 1, 2013
Mike The Man Of The Rás '73' Exhibition
|Eddie Dawson, An Post Rás Assistant Race Director and Dermot Mulligan, Carlow County Museum viewing some Ras Tailteann memorabilia including Mike O’Donaghue’s winning yellow jersey of 1973.|
Apr 25, 2013
Accomplished Track Stars Amongst The Line-Up Of LarestTeams For An Post Rás
|Bourke Kuiper Team Koga Holland|
One day after the announcement of four British teams brought the total number of squads for this year’s An Post Rás up to eleven, an additional three more foreign outfits have been confirmed.
|Aime DeGendt Belgium|
The latest to join the expanding lineup for the prestigious Irish event are the Dutch Koga Cycling Team, the Belgian national squad and the Australian Team Subaru-Albion.
Together these mean that fourteen overseas teams will travel for the race, although more squads will be confirmed between now and the May 19th start.
There is a strong track influence in the first two of the teams, with several high achievers amongst them. The Koga Cycling Team’s provisional lineup includes Nick Stopler, who took silver and bronze in the points and madison respectively at the European track championships two years ago.
The squad also includes Bouke Kuiper, who won a stage in the Tour du Faso in 2011 and who was world track championship silver medallist in the points race four years earlier.
The other three riders likely to take part are the 2012 Dutch national omnium champion Roy Eefting, Lars Vierbergen plus the road and mountainbike competitor Lars Vierbergen. More>>
Apr 25, 2013
Four Ambitious British Teams Add To Confirmed Lineup For An Post Rás
|Peter Hawkins IG Sigma sport|
One year after he won the opening stage of the An Post Rás, Marcin Bialoblocki has been confirmed as leading the Team UK Youth squad for the upcoming edition of the An Post Rás.
|Michael Nicolson Scotland|
The Polish rider triumphed into Kilkenny and then went on to place second on two stages, third on another and to take second in the points classification. He was also a fine sixth overall. That performance built on his 2011 display when he won a very aggressively-raced stage six into Tramore.
He will be joined by Rob Partridge, who finished sixth overall in 2010, and who was eighth in the Tour of Britain the same year. The 2012 Tour of Brittany mountains jersey winner will share leadership with Bialoblocki, and the duo will be supported by James Lowsley-Williams, Richard Tanguy and Josh Hunt, the younger brother of former World Tour pro Jeremy Hunt. Stage wins and the general classification will once again be the target for the squad.
Also returning are the IG Sigma Sport team, which includes the Irish rider Peter Hawkins and the Briton Pete Williams, who was second overall in 2010. He also took the sprints jersey in last year¹s Tour of Britain, showing his quality.
Hawkins won a stage of last year’s Tour of the North and later finished sixth on stage three of the 2012 Tour of Britain. He was also the runner up slot at last year's Tour of the Reservoir. According to team manager Becky Frewing he has big ambitions. “Peter believes he can win overall and we will obviously look at stage wins too.” More>>
Apr 19, 2013
Two Strong British Squads Join Foreign Contenders For An Post Rás
Adding to an impressive line-up of overseas teams announced thus far, the first two out of several teams from Britain have been confirmed for this year’s An Post Rás, which will burst into action in exactly one month’s time.
|Richard Handley Rapha Condor JLT|
The Britain Rapha Condor JLT outfit and the Great Britain development squad are the sixth and seventh overseas teams to be confirmed thus far, joining the previously announced squads Czech AC Sparta Praha, Denmark Blue Water, Germany Bike Aid, Austria Gebruder Weiss plus the Canadian national team.
The Britain Rapha Condor JLT team is very well known on the race, having won the event in 2009 with Simon Richardson. Its manager John Herety has guided several riders to overall victory in the past and the former professional is very experienced in the style of racing the race requires.
Last year Richard Handley finished fifth overall. He was also the winner in the Irish Sports Council best under 23 rider classification, with his team-mate Chris Jennings fourth. The squad was an impressive third in the international team classification.
This time round, Herety is again ambitious, and so too will be the returning Handley. “We will target stages to start with, then look at the general classification after four days of racing,” said Herety. “Rich Handley and Mike Cuming will be the leaders.”
Cuming is the current British under 23 champion and will be one too watch. Irishman Aaron Buggle will also be very competitive, having shown his ability when he won two Irish time trial championship titles in the Under 23 category. The team will be completed by Elliott Porter, the son of former top professional Jaanus Kuum and double Olympian Maria Blower, plus the 2012 Junior Tour of Wales third-place finisher Ed Laverack.
Herety states that the team will have a good programme of racing in the build-up to the An Post Rás. “By then we will have done the Tour of Mzansi in South Africa, the Tour du Loir et Cher, the Tour of Normandie, Boucles de l’Artois & domestic races in the UK, including the Tour of Reservoir and the Lincoln GP.”
|Simon Yates G.B. Dev. Squad, World Points Race Champion 2013|
Another former pro will guide the competitors on the Great Britain development squad, with Keith Lambert taking the reins there. He said that the team would not be finalised until after the Flèche du Sud, one week before the start of the An Post Rás, but gave the likely riders.
The line-up includes Simon Yates, the world points race champion and a stage winner in the Tour de l’Avenir, plus Beijing World Cup 2011 Omnium track race winner Sam Harrison, who has also taken silver and bronze in the team pursuit at the world track championships. More>>
Apr 12, 2013
Austrian And German Teams Increase International Challenge For An Post Ras
The Austria Pro Gerbrudur Weiss team and the Germany Bike Aid team are the latest international squads to confirm their place in this year’s An Post Rás.
|Andreas Muller Austria|
Austrian rider Andreas Müller, who finished a close second to Martyn Irvine in the scratch race in the world track championships last month, has been confirmed as part of the Austria Pro Gerbrudur Weiss team.
The 33 year old rider was involved in a thrilling duel with Irvine at the track championships, catching the Irishman close to the finish of the race, but losing out when Irvine rallied to take gold. The performance made history, achieving Ireland’s first world track title in over 100 years.
The Austrian outfit have previously competed in the An Post Rás in 2009 and 2010.
|Timo Scháfer Germany|
They took third overall in the first of those editions via the efforts of Jan Barta, and were also third in the international team classification. The squad then returned the following year and again performed well. Joseph Kugler was third on stage five to Seskin Hill and temporarily moved up to second overall as a result.
Kugler ultimately finished thirteenth overall, losing time on the penultimate stage through the Wicklow Mountains.
According to team manager Erwin Hortl, the riders are pinpointing the event as a key race in their calendar. “Our goal is to continue the team’s performance from our last start in 2010. We want to achieve a good race and we will try to get onto the podium,” he said.
Apr 5, 2013
Denmark Blue Water Cycling Team Return To 2013 An Post Rås With Big Ambitions
|Jacob Neilsen, Bluewater Cycling, Denmark In The Green Jersey 2012|
Following on from a successful debut campaign in 2012 when it picked up two stage wins plus second in the best young rider classification, the Denmark Blue Water Cycling team will return to this year’s An Post Rás with big ambitions.
|Soren Pugdahl, Bluewater Cycling, Denmark|
According to Jacob Nielsen, who was second on stage one last year, the team is determined to perform at least as well as it did last May, if not to improve on that.
“As this is our second year at the Rás we know what to expect. In 2012 we won two stages and we are coming to Ireland in May to win stages and do well in the overall,” he said, confirming the team’s attendance and goals.
Last time round Mark Sehested Pedersen won stage four to Bundoran, then Lasse Norman Hansen followed that up three days later with victory into Cootehill. Norman Hansen finished second in the Irish Sports Council Under 23 classification, and later went on to win the Omnium title in the London Olympics.
While neither rider are scheduled to take part this time round, the team has an extremely solid lineup in place. Nielsen (35) will be back and as a former world junior road race silver medallist and the 2009 winner of the UCI-ranked GP Copenhagen, he is capable of big performances. More>>
Mar 29, 2013
2012 Podium Finisher Hunal To Lead Czech AC Sparta Praha Team In An Post Rás
|Martin Hunal AC Sparta Praha|
Following in from last week’s announcement of the first international squad for this year’s An Post Rás, the Canadia national team, the race organisers have now confirmed that the strong Czech Republic AC Sparta Praha lineup will return to this year’s event.
|Rostislav Krotky AC Sparta Praha|
One year ago Martin Hunal finished an excellent third overall in the race, ending the eight day contest just seventeen seconds behind the overall winner Nicolas Baldo. He was also second on stage five into Buncrana, and second in the One4All Bikes4Work King of the Mountains classification.
Fired up by those near misses, 23 year old Hunal will travel to Ireland this year determined to clock up some victories.
He will share leadership with 27 year old Tomas Okrouhlicky, who was third in the national time trial championships two years ago, and who could also challenge in the An Post Rás. More>>