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An Post Chain Reaction Squad, British and French Teams Confirmed for An Post Rás 2015

An Post Chain Reaction Squad, British and French Teams Confirmed for An Post Rás 2015

With less than a month to go until the start of An Post Rás, three more teams have confirmed they will take part in Ireland’s top cycling event and one of the most aggressive races on the international calendar.


This trio of squads includes Ireland’s only UCI Continental team, An Post-Chain Reaction - Sean Kelly team. Kurt Bogaerts, team manager, has given some idea of the riders who could be part of the line-up this year, although the current run of injuries and illness within the team has complicated things.


He confirmed: “Ryan Mullen is racing again this weekend after his crash in the Under 23 Tour of Flanders. He is a certainty for the race.” The Irish rider finished second in the 2014, World Under 23 Time Trial Championship.


“Another rider I would like to be there is Aidis Kroupis, although he has a really bad saddle sore at the moment and won’t be able to race this weekend. It depends on how he recovers from that.


“Of the other Irish guys, Conor Dunne and Sean Downey are in contention. Jack Wilson definitely won’t make An Post Rás due his fractured collarbone and scaphoid. There is also a similar situation for Eoin McCarthy due to his two bad crashes this year. They will likely both be out of action until June as there is no point in throwing them into racing directly before they get in a block of good training again.”


Bogaerts added that the Belgian Xandro Meurisse, the Kiwi Aaron Gate and the Britons Alistair Slater and Joshua Edmondson are also in the pool of riders who could be selected for the five man team. The final selection will depend on who goes to the Tour of Azerbaijan and how they fare there.


As regards goals, Bogaerts has taken both the overall classification with his riders and clocked up numerous stage wins. He’d like to chase both of those targets again.


“In the winter I said that I was hoping to go for the general classification and a lot of stages. Now with the circumstances we have in relation to illness and injuries, making those goals a reality is a little more complex.  


“Hopefully things settle down well and we can head to the race with riders in strong form.”


The team will have six riders in action this weekend, as they compete in the testing Rutland – Melton International CiCLE Classic (1.2) on Sunday, 26th April in England.


Irish pair Dunne and Mullen will ride alongside fellow teammates Aaron Gate (New Zealand), Jordan Stannus (Australia), Alistair Slater (Great Britain) and Paulius Siskevicius (Lithuania).


Bogaert’s will have to do without eight members of his fourteen man squad, who are missing out through a combination of injuries and illness.  

“We are really down to the bare bones so it is a difficult situation at the moment. Aidis (Kruopis) was 9th last weekend (Profronde van Noord-Holland, 1.2) despite being ill, and we had hoped to use him in the UK, so it is unfortunate.”


However, with his team securing two top 10 finishes in the same race last year, including one podium finish, there is plenty of cause for optimism. Bogaert’s will hope for a similar outcome when the race concludes on Sunday in the town of Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire.


“We were on the podium last time out in this race and are certainly aiming for the same again come Sunday. Conor Dunne has impressed of late and his aggressive style will suit this race I feel, so we are really looking forward to it.”


The popularity of An Post Rás with international teams continues as the British Madison Genesis team and the French Pays de Dinan squad will also compete in this year’s race.


The British squad is likely to feature the Irishman Dom Jelfs, who was sixth in the National Road Race Championships last year, as well as Liam Holohan, Matt Holmes and Erick Rowsell.


Holohan won the penultimate stage of last year’s An Post Rás, taking it with a superb solo effort. Holmes is a past silver medallist in the British Under 23 Championships, and Rowsell showed strong form, taking the Tour of the Reservoir this year. He is also a past stage winner in Tour de Normandie.


A fifth rider will also take part and will be selected closer to the event. “This year's cold and wet start to the season has taken its toll, we have a few riders with injuries and illness at the moment,” said team manager Roger Hammond, a former top professional who was third in the 2004 Paris-Roubaix.


“There is still time to recover before the Rás, but we are playing the waiting game.”


Hammond said that Rowsell will lead the team. “He has the capacity to go for the overall win in the Rás, but as we all know it is a really hard race to control. We will approach it with a day-by-day mentality and see how far he can get.”


The team had two training camps this year and recently participated in the Tour de Normandie, placing third overall. It will be riding the new Tour of Yorkshire as part of its build-up and will be lining out against some of the world’s top teams there.


The Pays de Dinan squad will feature this year’s Fleche d’Armor winner Aurelien Daniel as well as Elie Gesbert, who won the 2013 French Junior Road Race and Time Trial Championships and is regarded as a big up and coming talent. He was also second in the European Time Trial Championships in the same year.


Tour de Lesneven winner Axel Journiaux, Benjamin l’Hermitte and Rodolphe Marie will also be on the team.


According to directeur sportif, Francois Journiaux, Daniel and Journiaux will target stage wins while Gesbert will be their rider for the general classification.


A range of international teams have already been announced for the world-ranked race, Ireland’s biggest cycling event.


The 2015 An Post Rás will begin in Dunboyne on May 17 and will feature stage finishes in Carlow, Tipperary, Bearna, Newport, Ballina, Ballinamore, Drogheda and Skerries.


It will total almost 1200 kilometres in length and will include 21 categorised climbs.



An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly Team for the Rutland – Melton International CiCLE Classic (1.2), Sunday April 26th  


Ryan Mullen (IRL)

Conor Dunne (IRL)

Paulius Siskevicius (LTU)

Jordan Stannus (AUS)

Aaron Gate (NZ)

Alistair Slater (GB) 

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