An Post works in partnership with the Sean Kelly team to promote and grow talent and the sport of cycling. Being a development team at heart means race results can vary from year to year, so we are in it for the long haul.
Consistency has been key to success with Kurt Bogaerts as Directeur Sportif alongside Sean Kelly, Team Director, since the team set up in 2006. A small crew of professional support staff complete the outfit based at Merchtem, Belgium.
The An Post sponsored team was originally set up by Sean Kelly in 2006 through the Sean Kelly Academy: To give young Irish cyclists a base from which to compete in Europe and internationally.
Now racing as An Post-Chainreaction, the squad is a UCI Continental cycling team registered in Ireland. This structure allows young Irish riders access to a programme of top international races. In 2015 the team includes Irish Road Champion, Ryan Mullen, Irish national track rider, Sean Downey, Lithuanian National Road Champion, Paulius Siskevicius and former Omnium World Champion, Aaron Gate.
Riders participate mainly in races on the UCI Europe Tour. The team has however, received invites to take part in races on the Pro Tour, such as the 2011 Tour of Oman and Tour of Qatar. This places Irish cycling in the thick of the sport, showcasing our riders, our team and our sponsorship globally.
2015 is An Post’s eight year sponsoring the team; following on from a hugely successful seven years. This began with a general classification win at the Rás in 2008 and Best International Team in 2010 and continues with team victories at the Tour of Extremadura, Tour de Pyrenees, Halford’s Tour Series, the Ronde de l'Oise, the GP Wanzele and the Kattekoers, the Rund um Koln, the GP van de stad Geel and the Tour of Britain. Pretty good results for a development team!
2013 saw Sam Bennett reach his full potential with the team. Winning stage five of the Tour of Britain sealed his future move to the pro circuit with Team NettApp Endura in 2014.
Mark McNally has also made a move in 2015, racing with team Madison Genesis following a great four years with the team, while Kiwi, Shane Archbold moved to team NettApp Endura having been a real force within the team. 2011 saw Gediminas Bagdonas triumph in the An Post Rás. He went on to have a super season, winning stage 7 at the Tour of Britain. Gediminas is now placed with AG2R La Mondiale.
Daniel Lloyd, former pro cyclist, cycling commentator and Global Cycling Network (GCN) presenter also rode with the team in 2008. He went on to race at the highest level; completing both the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia for the Cervelo Test Team.
And then there’s ‘Rambo’! With the team since the beginning, former Belgian road champion (2009), Niko Eeckhout is now coaching and acting as Directeur Sportif alongside Kurt Bogaerts. A veteran of 21 seasons, he retired following a race win at the GP Wanzele aged 42.
That’s some of our story, to find out more:
An Post - Chain Reaction Cycling Team
An Post Rás
An Post Rás na mBan
An Post Cycle Series
Irish Paracycling Team