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Dublin: 4°C Saturday 27 February 2021

Sean Kelly's An Post Chain Reaction to disband for 2018 after failing to secure sponsor

‘Despite our best efforts, the team will not progress to the 2018 season. We look towards 2019 with enthusiasm.’

Members of the team in January 2017.
Members of the team in January 2017.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

IT’S BEEN CONFIRMED that Sean Kelly’s An Post Chain Reaction will not be on the road in 2018, after failing to secure a new sponsor.

The cycling team were left in limbo after An Post announced their withdrawal as primary sponsor after nine years.

Subsequently, they faced a race against the clock to find a new backer before the October 31 deadline to register with the UCI, cycling’s governing body.

“Despite our best efforts, the team will not progress to the 2018 season,” they tweeted this morning, along with a statement. “We look towards 2019 with enthusiasm.”

The statement, written by team founders Sean Kelly and Kurt Bogaerts, reads:

“Unfortunately, time has worked against us to secure a sponsorship agreement before the October 31st deadline to compete in 2018. However, we continue to look towards 2019 and the goal of advancing to the Pro Continental level with enthusiasm.

“We are resigned to not making the start line for the 2018 season, but our goals remain the same: to advance to the highest ranks of professional road cycling.

“Considering the team’s strong links to Spain and the United Kingdom, the implications of Brexit and the political scenario in Catalunya impacted the decisions of interested parties but we remain undeterred.

“Our next objective is to secure a collaboration with a suitable sponsor by July of next year with the hope of returning to the International peloton with a strong and dedicated roster of talented riders.”

Chain Reaction has been recognised as one of Ireland’s most successful — and first-ever professional — cycling teams following its inception by Kelly in 2006.

Some of the country’s top riders have been involved with the team throughout the last decade, including Sam Bennett, Ryan Mullen and Matt Brammeier, who have gone on to compete successfully on the World Tour.

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