As the countdown continues towards the May 22nd start of An Post Rás, a further two international teams have been confirmed for the UCI world-ranked event.
|Florent Castellarnau, Amical Velo Club Aix- En- Provence|
The France Amical Vélo Club Aix-en-Provence and Germany Stradalli - Bike Aid have announced their provisional line-up. They join previously confirmed teams from Australia, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and the USA. The French and German line-ups will further raise the standard of racing on the eight day event, which is Ireland’s toughest and most prestigious cycling race.
France Amical Vélo Club Aix-en-Provence will feature five riders, namely Florent Castellarnau, Grégoire Tarride, Matthieu Converset, Alexis Dulin and Loïck Lebouvier. Castellarnau is the past winner of races such as Monaco – La Turbie, while Tarride has picked up stages wins in the Vuelta Madrid and the Tour d’Alsace. Dulin is the most successful, in terms of the number of wins: his victories include the Trophée Roger Walkowiak, which celebrates the career of the winner of the 1956 Tour de France. He also took the Circuit de la Drôme and the Boucles du Haut-Var. Lebouvier is a past winner of a stage in the Tour d’Auvergne. Converset is the oldest of the five at 28 years of age, and has won a stage plus the overall in the Tour du Pays Roannais.
General manager Jean-Michel Bourgouin said that the team missed out on some early-season preparation events but is looking forward to some upcoming races. They will do the Circuit des Ardennes, the Circuit Sâone et Loire and the Tour du Jura as part of the build-up for An Post Rás.
|Matthieu Conversst, Amical Velo Club Aix- En- Provence|
“We are excited about the hardest races,” he said. “Our goal for An Post Rás is to attack every day and to try to win.”
The second team, Germany Stradalli - Bike Aid, has the noble goal of developing African cycling and young riders. It has raised over €200,000 in donations for social projects and has supported numerous young athletes.
The team for An Post Rás will comprise the Rwandans Jean Bosco Nsengimana and Janvier Hadi, as well as the Germans Nikodemus Holler, Timo Schäfer and Joschka Beck.
|Nikodemus Holler,Bike Aid Germany|
Nsengimana took three stages plus the overall in last year’s Tour du Rwanda and this year won a stage in the Tour du Cameroun. Hadi won the All African Games Road Race last year and also picked up stages in the Tours d’Annaba and Rwanda in the past. Holler was second in the 2012 German championships and this year picked up fifth on a stage of the 2.1 ranked La Tropicale Amissa Bongo. Schäfer was fourth in the 2013 GP de Sarreguemines, while Beck took top ten stage finishes in the La Tropicale Amissa Bongo and Tour du Cameroun this year.
“The goal of the team is to fight for a top-ranking in the general classification, as well as a stage win,” said Schäfer. “The main goal is to show a sustainable high performance in an eight day stage race as key preparation for this year’s Tour of Qinghai Lake. The leaders for the general classification will be Jean-Bosco Nsengimana and Nikodemus Holler.
The team’s build-up will include the Tour of Eritrea, as well as UCI races in Germany, Belgium and Sweden.
|Janvier Hadi,Bike Aid Germany|
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.
|Loick Lebouvier, Amical Velo Club Aix- En- Provence|
|Jean Bosco Nsengimana,Bike Aid Germany|