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2014 winner Fankhauser plus past Tour of Qatar champion Mol confirmed for this year’s An Post Rás


Fankhauser has rejoined the Austria Tirol Cycling Team, with which he won An Post Rás in 2014 and is in superb form in the build up to the 2016 event. He finished second in the most difficult stage of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali last month, as well as taking 12th place overall. Most recently, he placed fifth in the 1.2-ranked GP Adria Mobil last Sunday. The 30 year-old is continuing to improve in the sport and must be regarded as a major favourite to lift the trophy.


The final team line-up will be confirmed in May but three out of the four riders who will start alongside him have been named. Martin Weiss won a stage in the Giro del Friuli in 2014 and was also runner-up in the GP del Marmo the same year. Patrick Bosman has also shown his talent in the past, netting third in a stage of the Giro Valle d’Aosta in 2014 and second on a stage of the 2015 Tour of China while Alexander Wachter was European Junior Road Race champion in 2012 and took a stage in the 2015 Carpathian Couriers race.

The squad has a superb record in An Post Rás, taking victory in 2014 with Fankhauser and winning last year with Lukas Postlberger.

“As the team has won the Rás twice we have quite a lot of pressure on us to top this result,” states team sports director Hannes Kapeller.

“But I think a stage win and a top three in the general classification will be our goal. In preparation we will do a lot of racing in Italy, some under-23 races and some 1.2 races. The team will do the Giro del Trentino in the end of April, which is a big honour for us.”

Another strong team for the race is the Netherlands Team Join-S | De Rijke squad. The likely line-up includes Wouter Mol, who won the Tour of Qatar in 2010 while part of the Vacansoleil team. Jetse Bol competed for Belkin in the past and went close to winning Paris-Tours in 2013. He also won the Olympia’s Tour twice. The team will be completed by Ike Groen joined by Robbert de Greef and Jordi Sloof, who will both target the general classification.

“Our goal is to be present and aggressive in the final of each stage and see if we can get someone on the podium of the general classification,” states team manager Frank Kwanten. “Furthermore it is important for us to have the young riders understand what it means to race for so many days in a row and to discover Ireland. Ike Groen will be our leader for the race.”

The team will compete in Croatia and the Fleche du Sud in Luxembourg as part of the build-up for Post Rás.

“For all five riders the month of May marks a peak in their season,” states Kwanten. “This means they need to be at their best level.”

This year’s An Post Rás will total almost 1240 kilometres, and will include 25 categorised climbs. The race will roll out from Dublin Castle on Sunday May 22nd, with the venue chosen to mark the 2016 Easter Rising commemorations.

The world-ranked event will feature stage finishes in Multyfarnham, Charleville, Dingle, Sneem, Clonakilty, Dungarvan, Baltinglass and Skerries.

An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly Racing team are currently preparing for French race Circuit des Ardennes International (2.2) this weekend. The four stage race will take place between the 8th and 10th of April.

Jack Wilson is the sole Irish representation in what is a strong squad for this weekend’s racing with Jacob Scott (GB), Jasper Bovenhuis (NED), Calvin Watson (AUS) and Beligian duo Nicolas Vereecken and Emiel Wastyn forming the rest of a formidable team. Team manager Kurt Bogaerts is expecting big things from the Belfast native.

“Jack (Wilson) is improving all the time. Each time he takes to the saddle, he’s impressed us more and more. Each race is an opportunity for him to go up another level. We’re hoping that with the right training, he’ll reach his peak just in time for the Rás.”

The 42nd edition of the upcoming race takes place in Charleville- Mézières and the mountainous region of Ardennes. It is renowned for unearthing some young prospects and An Post Directeur Sportif, Kurt Bogaerts, hopes his team can make their mark on the race;


“The team has been extremely competitive the past few races with the likes of Nicolas (Vereecken) achieving some top ten finishes. A good result would be for us to place in the top three in the general classification and a stage win. That is our aim.”

The team is still without Connor McConvey who is recovering from a bout of flu while Damian Shaw is expected to return to full fitness soon to compete in 2016 Tour du Loir et Cher E Provost (2.2) which takes place next Wednesday, 13th April.


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