Cycling Ireland U23 Road Programme opens season at Flèche du Sud
Flèche du Sud (2.2), a 5-day stage race in Luxembourg, is the first in a series of European stage races being targeted by Cycling Ireland’s U23 Road Programme. Flèche du Sud runs from May 25 to 29 and offers Ireland’s talented young road riders the opportunity to gain exposure at an appropriate level of racing, nurturing their development as they target progression to the top ranks of the sport.
The Ireland Team for Flèche du Sud features U23 riders Darren Rafferty, Matthew Devins, Odhran Doogan, Dean Harvey and Adam Kelly. They will be joined by established senior rider and 2021 National Road Championship runner-up, Daire Feeley, who brings a wealth of experience to the young team and will assume the role of road captain.
The U23 Road Programme is led by former World Champion, Martyn Irvine, who commented:
“Flèche du Sud marks the start of our season and an important development opportunity for the riders. Our primary goals are to use the event as a learning experience and show what we are capable of against some quality riders. After Flèche du Sud we will turn our attention to the Rás which we are pleased to see returning for 2022.”
The U23 Road Programme acts as a springboard for talented young riders to progress to senior professional teams bridging the gap between the Junior Athlete Development Programme and the senior ranks. On Thursday, Cycling Ireland welcomed the announcement that it had been successful in its application for Sport Ireland funding to support the organisation’s High Performance Programme. The funding package represents a total investment of €2million over the course of the Olympic cycle including €520,000 annually from 2022-2024. This represents an 18% increase from 2020 and 2021 levels.
Flèche du Sud – Ireland Team
Daire Feeley (road captain)