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Dublin: 4°C Thursday 13 May 2021

Climb to the top: The team built to produce Ireland's next generation of cycling stars

With four Irish riders on their roster, An Post-Chain Reaction are targeting a big 2017.


IN SOUTHERN SPAIN in January, you will find the roads packed with cyclists who migrate to train in the warm winter weather of the Mediterranean.

The teams stay in hotels, have nutritious food prepared for them daily, and have their bodies and bikes looked after with meticulous detail.

As the An Post-Chain Reaction cyclist Matthew Teggart puts it, “We get the easy job, we just have to ride the bikes.”

Spend a few days with the An Post-Chain Reaction team in their winter training camp in Calpe, Spain however, and you would have to wonder how “easy” a job it is.

The team, which was started by legendary Irish cyclist Sean Kelly, acts as a developmental team for young or new riders, making the majority of the team under 22-years-old.

It’s hard to see how a young rider leaving home to live abroad in the hopes of making it as a cyclist could ever be considered easy. But, like other sports, you have to really love it to give it everything.

The four Irish cyclists in this year’s An Post-Chain Reaction team — Matthew Teggart, Conor Hennebry, Damien Shaw and Sean McKenna — are all men who love cycling.

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They all joined the team from completely different backgrounds, from finishing a degree in UCD to fighting fires in Mullingar, but are determined to make something of their cycling careers.

An Post-Chain Reaction is a Continental cycling team, two tiers below the World Tour teams that dominate the major events every year. Many of the riders on this year’s roster have set their sights on reaching that level at some stage.

For now though, the team will compete across Europe, including in the 65th edition of Ireland’s own An Post Rás later this year, the route of which was announced in the GPO earlier this week.

The four Irish guys under Kelly’s mentorship will all be hoping to get on the team for the race, setting their sights on at least a stage win during the race which will comprise of the following stages:

  • Stage 1, Sunday 21 May: Dublin to Longford (146.1 kilometres)
  • Stage 2, Monday 22 May: Longford to Newport (142.9 kilometres)
  • Stage 3, Tuesday 23 May: Newport to Bundoran (149 kilometres)
  • Stage 4, Wednesday 24 May: Bundoran to Buncrana (151.8 kilometres)
  • Stage 5, Thursday 25 May: Buncrana to Dungloe (181.2 kilometres)
  • Stage 6, Friday 26 May: Dungloe to Donegal (132.1 kilometres)
  • Stage 7, Saturday 27 May: Donegal to Ardee (167.3 kilometres)
  • Stage 8, Sunday 28 May: Ardee to Skerries (129.4 kilometres)

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About the author:

Eoin Lúc Ó Ceallaigh

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