2009 Sean Kelly Cycling Team
2009 Sean Kelly Cycling Team announced
The line up for the 2009 An Post sponsored Seán Kelly Cycling team was revealed today, with five new high-profile signings confirmed. Among these is Irish rider David O’Loughlin, recent winner of a bronze medal at the World Cup in Beijing.
The 2009 An Post Sean Kelly Team includes five Irish cyclists, with 2008 riders Páidi O’Brien, Stephen Gallagher, Mark Cassidy and Ronan McLaughlin all re-signed and the notable new addition David O’Loughlin.
O’Loughlin was a member of last year’s Olympic squad where he competed in the 4km pursuit. The Mayo native is also a former Irish Road Race and Time Trial Champion.
“I’m really looking forward to racing with the An Post team and the race programme this year,” O’Loughlin said. “I’m particularly excited about working with Sean Kelly, as that is a dream come true to be honest.”
“I learnt a lot last year and I think combining the track and road racing this year will work well, as they can both compliment each other.”
As a result of further sponsorship and support, the team structure has developed this year enabling team manager Kurt Bogaerts to sign up a number of top class European riders since the end of last season.
Bogaerts has signed former Belgian champion Niko Eeckhout, with the 38-year-old Classics rider providing valuable experience and leadership for the Merchtem based squad, made up of mostly young Irish and Belgian riders.
Eeckhout aka "Rambo" has been a consistent winner on the professional scene since turning pro with Collstrop in 1992. He has also had two victories at Dwars door Vlaanderen and wins at Etoile de Besseges, GP Rik Van Steenberegen as well as three Flemish championships to his name.
The An Post team has also signed two Belgian riders, Steven Van Vooren from the American Cycling Centre team and Jeff Peters, who was part of the 2008 Profel Prorace team.
The final addition to the An Post Sean Kelly team for the 2009 season is English rider Matt Brammeier. The talented former Profel team member and United Kingdom Under-23 National Trial Champion has made a remarkable recovery after a serious accident in November 2007, when he was stuck by a cement mixing lorry whilst training and broke both his legs.
The An Post sponsored team was set up by Sean Kelly four years ago as extension of the Sean Kelly Academy to give young Irish cyclists a base from which to compete in Belgium, with the pro team designed to give young Irish riders access to a programme of top international races.
This is An Post’s second year sponsoring the team, after a hugely successful debut season in 2008, which included Stephen Gallagher’s Rás win in May and team victories at the Tour of Extremadura and the Tour de Pyrenees.
Main sponsors An Post got involved with cycling for the first time in 2007 as sponsors of the Green Jersey in the inaugural Tour of Ireland and extended their involvement in 2008 with the sponsorship of the Seán Kelly team.
An Post CEO Donal Connell said. ““An Post is sponsoring the Seán Kelly team for the second year in 2009. Our ongoing support is pivotal in allowing Ireland’s young riders fulfil their potential as elite athletes. We look forward to further expanding our support for cycling in Ireland over the coming year.”
The team has just completed a ten-day training camp in Calpe in Southern Spain, and their ’09 campaign will commence at the start of February when they compete in France at the GP Marseillaise, followed by the Etoile Bresseges a few days later.
The An Post squad will return to Ireland for the nation's top races, the Rás, Tour of Ireland and national championships.
“We are finalising our racing calendar for the year but it looks like the team will be back in Ireland for the first time on May 17th for the Rás,” said Kelly. “We are already looking forward to it as it's always great to return home and showcase our success as a continental team. In 2008, Stephen Gallagher was the first Irish winner in four year’s and he will be back to defend his title this year."
2009 An Post Sean Kelly Team
- Paidi O'Brien (IRL, Cork)
- Mark Cassidy (IRL, Meath)
- Stephen Gallagher (IRL, Armagh)
- Ronan McLaughlin (IRL, Donegal)
- David O’Loughlin (IRL, Mayo)
- Benny De Schrooder (BEL)
- Kenny Lisabeth (BEL)
- Steven Van Vooren (BEL)
- Jef Peeters (BEL)
- Niko Eeckhout (BEL)
- Matt Brammeier (GB)
Manager: Kurt Bogaerts