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"Keeping world class athletes like him and Aaron Gate and then bringing in Aidis (Kruopis) who has huge experience is great for the team and for the other riders. I’m really looking forward to getting everyone together at the tra...

Photo: Tour of Turkey/Hakan Seker

AIDIS KRUOPIS

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AN POST-SEAN KELLY TEAM

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10.11.2014 @ 14:52 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

An Post Chain Reaction have announced their roster for the 2015 season. The team will be led by Aidis Kruopis who joins from Orica-GreenEDGE and has been able to retain Ryan Mullen's services after the talented Irishman decided to renew his contract.

 

Irish National Champion Ryan Mullen has committed to the An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly team for the 2015 season ahead. The talented twenty year-old has ended speculation by pledging his future to the Irish outfit and will join fellow Irish riders Conor Dunne, Jack Wilson and Sean Downey who have all penned new one-year deals.
 
Retaining Mullen for the season ahead is a major coup for the An Post team. Mullen is just coming off the back of an incredible season and has deservedly attracted the attention of many of the bigger teams. He was crowned senior road race champion and U23 Time Trial champion in Westmeath in June and narrowly missed out on gold in the U23 Men’s Individual Time Trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Spain. Despite his tender years, he also showed his class by claiming a superb seventh place at the Tour of Britain Individual Time Trial, finishing ahead of seasoned professionals like Bradley Wiggins.
 
Mullen is delighted to put pen to paper for another year with the An Post team and is excited about the season ahead.
 
“I’m really happy to stay with An Post. It’s been a great year for me and that’s down to the experience I’m getting with the team and the guidance from Kurt. I’m really keen to further progress my development on the road and the team’s programme is perfect for this so I’m really looking forward to just getting started again.”
 

 

After another year of clear progression Jack Wilson will be looking to firmly establish himself within the team and build on the experience from the last two seasons. The Antrim native showed plenty of his potential this season with an excellent performance at the European Championships in Nyon, Switzerland and finishing fourth overall and second in the youth classification at Kreiz Breiz Elites (2.2) in France.

 

 

 

Downey, who finished runner-up to Mullen at the National Championships, had another solid season and has joined the Cycling Ireland track programme for the coming year. Downey finished top Irish rider at this year’s An Post Rás and team manager Kurt Bogaerts insists that ‘a split focus on the track this year for Sean will only benefit his road racing and improve his top speed’.
 
Bogaerts also expects big strides to be made from Conor Dunne. The twenty two-year old gained invaluable experience this year with the team’s tough race programme and Bogaerts believes having that year under his belt will now give him a platform to push on in 2015.
 
Cork man Eoin McCarthy is the only new Irish recruit and has joined from the Terra Safety Shoes Team. McCarthy, a cousin of former An Post rider Robert-Jon McCarthy, has previously worked under manager Kurt Bogaerts in the national team set up at the European Championships so should have few problems settling in.

 

Former Orica-GreenEDGE rider Aidis Kruopis is the standout new arrival and will bring considerable experience to a young An Post team. The twenty eight year-old Lithuanian, who won gold in the sprint classification at the 2014 Tour de Langkawi, is looking to relaunch his career and believes the team’s race programme provides him with the perfect platform for him to do this. Kruopis will be joined by fellow compatriot Paulius Siskevicius who has also signed for the team. The twenty one-year old possesses huge potential and was crowned national road champion in June.
 
Another significant signing for the An Post team is Belgian rider Xandro Meurisse. The talented twenty two year-old joins as a staigiaire from Lotto-Belisol and his attacking mentality is sure to be a good fit with the team’s style of racing. Muerisse will link up with two new compatriots, Alexander Maes and Jens Vandenbogaerde, who also make the switch while Britain’s Alistair Slater, who finished third in the youth classification at this year’s An Post Rás, is another youngster who will debut with the team early next year. 
 
Bogaerts has also secured the signing of eighteen year-old Jordan Stannus who has penned a two-year deal. The Australian native has huge potential and securing him on a two-year contract will ‘eliminate any pressure in his first year and will allow him to concentrate purely on his development’, according to Bogaerts.
 
The team have also retained the services of former Omnium World Champion Aaron Gate for another year. The talented Aucklander had his season disrupted after breaking his collar bone but will look to further develop his road racing with the team next year.
 
Bogaerts is excited the season ahead and believes the team have a nice mix of talent and experience.
 
“I think the squad we have assembled is one of the strongest I’ve ever had. We have real talent in depth and all the riders have a really good attitude. It’s a massive boost to our team to be able to say we are keeping hold of Ryan (Mullen). He’s an incredible talent and no doubt he had a lot of options out there but we are delighted he has decided to stay with us. 
 
"Keeping world class athletes like him and Aaron Gate and then bringing in Aidis (Kruopis) who has huge experience is great for the team and for the other riders. I’m really looking forward to getting everyone together at the training camps and working hard for the season ahead.”

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