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Ambitious An Post Chain Reaction And Azerbaijan Synergy Baku Teams To Chase Victory In An Post Rás
By Rás Admin
Apr 11, 2014, 07:00

Jack Wilson An Post Chainreaction
The 2013 An Post Rás runner-up Connor McConvey, last year’s Post office sprints champion Owain Doull plus former stage winners Shane Archbold and Conor Dunne are amongst those shortlisted for participation by their teams for this year’s race, which will begin in just over one month’s time. 


The quartet are in the running for inclusion on the Azerbaijan Synergy Baku and An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly teams, both of which confirmed today as taking part in Ireland’s biggest cycling event. 


The Azerbaijan Synergy Baku team competed for the first time last year and notched up two stage victories, with Kirill Pozdnyakov winning stage four into Glengarrif and Rico Rogers taking stage six into Carlow. Both riders are with different teams this year, but the squad is returning with some very strong alternatives and big ambitions. 


Maksym Averin Synergy Baku
“As a goal, the team would always like to have a shot at the overall jersey,” states general manager David McQuaid. “That’s most likely with Connor McConvey if he hones his form. Looking at the squad we are putting forward, stage wins are more likely.” 


Three Irish riders are amongst those in line to make up the final five man team. These include McConvey, who last year finished on exactly the same time as overall winner Marcin Bialoblocki, only missing out on the final race victory due to his rival’s better stage placings. 


Placing fourth in 2010 and seventh two years later, he’s psyched to finally take the winner’s yellow jersey and to add his name to the list of An Post Rás champions. The other two possible Irish participants are the four-time national champion – and current title holder - Matt Brammeier and the rider who finished second to him in that race last June, Philip Lavery. 


The riders from Azerbaijan who are on McQuaid’s shortlist are national time trial champion Elchin Asadov, Tural Isganadarov and national road race champion Samir Jabrayilov, while the Ukrainian Maksym Averin, the Austrian Markus Eibegger and the German Christoph Schweizer are also being considered. 


The team will be directed at the race by Arvis Piziks, who finished second to-then USSR team-mate Dainis Ozoles in the 1989 Rás. 


Owain Doull An Post Chainreaction
The An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly team has already enjoyed phenomenal success in the race, with the Irish Continental squad clocking up several stage victories plus the overall honours in 2008 with Stephen Gallagher. 


Last year the team nabbed two stage victories via Sam Bennett plus another with Shane Archbold. It took a remarkable one-two-three on the final stage in Skerries, a very rare occurrence in the sport. 


Bennett has since moved on to the Pro Continental ranks and is having a superb early season with the NetApp Endura team, but the Kiwi Archbold remains and will likely be part of the team’s push for more success. General manager Kurt Bogaerts also tips the Briton, Owain Doull as someone who will also likely return, but he stresses that the final line-up will be decided in May. 


Four Irish are in the running for slots, namely the 2013 stage one winner Conor Dunne, Sean Downey, Jack Wilson and Ryan Mullen. The latter is in his first year with the team and finished a superb fourth in the individual pursuit at this year’s elite world track championships. 


Bogaerts also states that the Briton Mark McNally, the Australian Robert Jon McCarthy and the New Zealanders Glenn O’Shea and Aaron Gate are being considered. 


The final selection will be made on the basis of the results in upcoming races. The team will then ride the Tour of Azerbaijan as part of its final build-up for what Bogaerts hopes will be a stellar An Post Rás. 


Markus Eibegger Synergy Baku
“What I am hoping for is that the riders can go for the overall. I don’t have a particular GC rider in mind right now but we’ll see,” he states. “Looking at this year’s route, I think it is a harder Rás than before. 


“I definitely want our guys to go for stages, but also by bringing strong riders to the race, that we have an option for the overall win. I would love to aim for that again if it is possible.” 


An Post Rás, race director, Tony Campbell believes the addition of the two teams will have a big impact on the event. “As they showed in the past, the An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly team and the Azerbaijan Synergy Baku squad are hugely competitive and have experience of taking victories in the race. 


“The fact that both teams have such a number of strong riders to choose from shows the talent in depth. We are confident that both will field very good selections and that they will be amongst the strongest teams in this year’s edition.” 


The 2014 An Post Rás will begin in Dunboyne on Sunday May 18th and will feature stage end finishes in Roscommon, Lisdoonvarna, Charleville, Cahirciveen, Clonakilty, Carrick on Suir, Baltinglass and Skerries. 


It will once again be a 2.2 ranked event on the UCI world calendar. A large number of international and professional teams will take part, chasing the world-ranking points on offer. 


Stage 8 finish In Skerries 2013 An Post Chain Reaction Men Take 1,2,3, Sam Bennett Winner, Nicholas Vereechen 2nd. Shane Archbold 3rd.

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