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New Standard For An Post Rás 2014
Valyer Bonca Slovenia In The Yellow Jersey Of Race Leader And David McCann Ireland Thornton Recycling In The Green Jersey Of Points Leader On Corrabut Gap Co. Carlow On The Way To The Stage Finish In Tullow 2004
Competition for ranking points will be at an all-time high when the 2014 cycle racing gets underway in a few months following a ruling by An Post Rás working committee that Category 3 riders must attain Category 2 status to be eligible for inclusion in the big 8 day international race in May.

Commenting on the ruling Race Organiser Tony Campbell said as the standard of racing in An Post Rás is constantly on the rise it’s important this is reflected in domestic racing, he also stated “with the huge number of races in the early part of the season it should well be in the reach of riders aspiring to take part in an 8 day international race to achieve sufficient points to move up to Category 2”.
Next year’s An Post Rás will take place from 18th to 25th May. The route is expected to be announced in January.

Celtic Challenge
At The Formation Meeting For The Celtic Challenge John Horgan, Benoît Larroque, Alain Baniel, Tony Campbell & Eddie Dawson

Impresive Line-Up And Carefully-Balanced Route Point To Classis Edition Of An Post Rás
Peter Hawhins IG Sigma Sport
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.

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

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.

Martin Hanul Czech Republic
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.

Peter Hawkins is another rider to watch, and will compete as part of the British IG Sigma Sport team. He is determined to try to take the overall classification, as is the Briton Pete Williams, who was second overall three years ago.

Another home rider with big ambitions is Aaron Buggle, who will be part of the Rapha Condor JLT setup. The British team will be managed by An Post Rás regular John Herety, who previously guided several riders to overall victory in the past. One of his hopes for this year is the British rider Richard Handley, who was fifth overall in 2012.

Looking at some of the other foreign teams, those to watch include the Czech AC Sparta Praha squad, which is returning to the race with last year’s third-placed finisher and One4All Bikes4Work King of the Mountains classification runner-up Martin Hunal More>>>

Mayo Centra Sponsor Western Lakes Cycling Club For Rás Bid
For the second year running Mayo Centra will enter a team in the An Post 8 day Rás and this year the riders are all members from the Western Lakes Cycling Club. The five-man squad consists of a mixture of experienced cyclists and late vocations to the sport, which epitomises the focus on rider development at the Ballinrobe based club.

The racing group at the club is going from strength to strength with a record number of racers registered in 2013, making for fierce competition on training spins as well as hard fought club league races. The infrastructure at the club, such as two recently purchased support vehicles, have been a key factor of club’s success in recent times thanks to the member’s willingness to partake in fundraising activities and bring in sponsors. The club’s blueprint for the development of the ordinary cyclist to a level where they can race on an international stage is the envy of cycling clubs around the country - having a club house, a BMX track, qualified coaches and know how are the main ingredients to Western Lakes’ success. The An Post Ras is widely recognised as the Irish University for cycling, riders get to learn everything about cycle racing over 8 days.

The team will be led again this year by Padraig Marrey; one of the most accomplished cyclist and coach in the country. This will be Padraig’s 11th Rás, and the 20th anniversary since his first in 1993. He has coached this year’s squad with a focus on the Rás since September 2012 when winter training began.

Two-time national champion Mark Quigley is making a return to top level cycling this year. Mark previously represented Ireland on the international circuit and is making a strong comeback this year a goal of completing his first Rás.
Team And Support Crew With Garry Higgins And Paul Keegan Centra

An Post Chain-Reaction Trio Set For Another Strong Rás
Sean Downey
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.

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.

Ronan McLaughlin
“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>>>

Powerful Teams From Azerbaijan, The United States And Ireland Announced For The An Post Rás
David McCann Synergy Baku
Dan Craven 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.

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>>>

Mike the Man Of The Rás 1973
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.

Accomplished Track Stars Amongst The Line-Up Of Latest Teams For An Post Rás
Nick Stopler Team Koga Holland
Aimé DeGendt Belgium
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.

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>>>

Four Ambitious British Teams Add To Confirmed Lineup For An Post Rás
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.

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.”

The overall 2012 Tour of the North winner James Moss will likely travel, while the line-up will be completed by two out of Matt Cronshaw, Joe Perrett or Wouter Sybrandy.
Marcin Bialoblocki, Britain Node4 Giordana Racing Takes Stage One Into Kilkenny 2012

Two Strong British Squads Join Foreign Contenders For An Post Rás
Richard Handley Rapha CondorJLT
Mike Cuming Rapha Condor JLT
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.

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.”

Alistar Slater G B Development Squad
Owain Doull G B Development Squad
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.

Also on the provisional line-up are Commonwealth Games 2010 points race runner-up George Atkins, former junior Peter Buckley Series winner Ali Slater and Owain Doull, who was fifth in this year’s world scratch race championship behind Ireland’s Martyn Irvine. More>>>

Last Updated: Jan 27th, 2022 - 06:14:09

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