Ryan Mullen: claimed the Irish elite time trial championship in Wexford. Photograph:  Jamie Squire/Getty

Mullen and Nicolas Roche among the favourites for Sunday’s elite men’s road race

In March Sam Bennett took the biggest victory of his career thus far when he won stage three of Paris-Nice. Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Bora-hansgrohe continues impressive form with Vuelta a Espana up next

Ireland’s Daniel Martin (left) and Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang ride in a breakaway during the 115 km eighth and last stage of the 69th edition of the Criterium du Dauphine. Photograph: Getty Images

Irish rider keeps Chris Froome off the podium after final stage

Dan Martin: finished third in the Critérium du Dauphiné last year. Photograph:  Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Irish rider expected to move up the ranks as remainder of the race is mountainous

 Sam Bennett of Ireland and Bora-Hansgrohe celebrates as he crosses the line to win the Men’s Towards Zero Race Melbourne during the 2017 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on January 26, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. Photograph: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Neither Bennett nor his team have confirmed if he will ride this year’s Vuelta a España

The An Post Rás goes through  Laghey in  Co Donegal. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

British rider conserved his solid advantage ahead of Sunday's final stage to Skerries

Yannis Yssaad  won a sprint finish to take stage six of the An Post Rás. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Positions and timegaps for the top 14 cyclists remain unchanged after thrilling finish

 Eventual stage winner Regan Gough of An Post Chain Reaction passes Mount Errigal during stage five of the  An Post Rás from Buncrana to Dungloe. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Regan Gough secures second stage win for An Post Chainreaction but GC hopes evaporate

Matt Teggart (second from right) of the An Post Chain Reaction  summits Mamore Gap in Donegal on his way to claiming the yellow jersey on stage four of the An Post Rás. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Irish rider follows Tuesday’s stage win by taking lead after tough stage

Matthew Teggart of the An Post Chain Reaction team wins stage three of the An Post Rás in Bundoran. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Morale boost for Chain Reaction team on stage three as sponsor flags departure

Delta Racing’s Jan Willem Van Schip on his way to winning the second stage of The Ras. Photograph: Inpho

Robert Jon McCarthy’s eighth place finish was top result by an Irishman on Monday

The An Post Ras makes it’s way towards Oldcastle during stage one. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Robert-Jon McCarthy (Britain JLT Condor) was best of the Irish in sixth place

Damien Shaw will again race with the An Post Chainreaction Seán Kelly squad in this year’s An Post Rás. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

25 Irish county sides among 39 five-man teams this year

Colombian Fernando Gaviria celebrates as he crosses the line to win Stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia in Tortona  ahead of Ireland’s Sam Bennett  (right) in second. Photograph: Luk Benies/AFP/Getty Images

Irish sprinter comes second as Colombian rider secures fourth stage win

Sam Bennett (left) finishes third behind Colombia’s Fernando Gaviria on stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia in Reggio Emilia. Photograph: Luk Benies/AFP/Getty Images.

An Post announces this will be final year of its sponsorship of cycling events

Sam Bennett: hopeful of getting a result on Friday’s stage of the  Giro d’Italia.   Photograph: Tim De Waele/Corbis via Getty Images

Damian Shaw, Sean McKenna and Matthew Teggart named in An Post-Chain Reaction squad

 Sam Bennett: Carrick-on-Suir rider is looking forward to his particiapation in the Giro d’Italia. Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty

Irish rider will spearhead the Bora-hansgrohe team in the bunch gallops

Damian Shaw: An Post Chainreaction team member is faring better in international competition this year. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Former national champion sitting in tenth place overall after three days of racing

 Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde  celebrates while crossing the finish line to win the Liège-Bastogne-Liège ahead of Ireland’s Dan Martin (left). Photograph:   Julien Warnand/EPA

Irish rider again pipped by Spain’s Alejandro Valverde in Classic

 Daniel Martin  on the podium salutes crowd after taking  second place in the Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday. Photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

Irish rider finished runner-up in Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday to Alejandro Valverde

File image of Mark Downey (l) in competition  in Cali, Colombia. Photograph: Luis Robayo/AFP/Getty Images

Mark Downey marked out of contention at World Track Championships in Hong Kong

Mark Downey celebrates after winning the gold medal in the UCI Cycling World Cup men’s points race in Cali, Colombia. Photograph: Luis Robayo/AFP/Getty

Mark Downey and Felix English leading the hunt for medal glory

Sam Bennett: will head to Sierra Nevada on Sunday for a two-week altitude camp.  Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Bora-hansgrohe rider already back training after withdrawal from Vuelta al Pais Vasco

Matthew Brammeier: will be part of the Irish team Aqua Blue Sport that will take part in the Vuelta a España in August. Photograph: Getty Images

The team includes three Irish riders, Matt Brammeier, Conor Dunne and Martyn Irvine

 Dan Martin: “What I can  take out of this race is the fact that I’ve always been there and proved my consistency.” Photograph:  Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images

Alejandro Valverde holds on to secure win with Alberto Contador taking second overall

Dan Martin of Ireland and Garmin-Sharp. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Irish rider moves up five places to ninth in the race’s general classification

Quick Step Floors’ Dan Martin remains 13th overall in the Volta a Catalunya. Photograph:Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images

Online fundraising project seeks to raise money for televising of Irish cycling events

Movistar’s Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde celebrates as he crosses first the finish line followed by Quick Step Floors’ Irish rider Daniel Martin on the third day of the 97th Volta Catalunya 2017. Photo: Josep Lago/Getty Images

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was able to hold his wheel and take the stage on the line

Ireland’s Sam Bennett: “I stopped early on the final stage into Nice on Sunday to begin my recovery for Milan San Remo.” Photograph: AFP Photo

Paris-Nice stage winner pledges to assist German Bora-hansgrohe team-mate Peter Sagan

Ireland’s Dan Martin  is carried by his Quick-Step Floors team-mates  Jack Bauer, Yves Lampaert,  Julian Alaphilippe  and  David De la Cruz  as they celebrate their best team award at the end of Paris-Nice. Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Quick-Step Floors cyclist enjoys best Irish finish since his uncle Stephen Roche

Ireland’s Daniel Martin of QuickStep Floors battles with Colombia’s Team Sky rider  Sergio Henao   towards the finish line at the end of the 177km seventh stage  of the Paris-Nice  between Nice and Col de la Couillole on Saturday. Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Irish rider finishes third on queen stage behind Richie Porte and Alberto Contador

The pack rides during the   sixth stage of the   Paris-Nice   race. Photograph: Getty Images

Simon Yates claims Friday’s stage to threaten Julian Alaphilippe’s overall lead

Ireland’s Daniel Martin rides during a 14,5 km individual time-trial, the fourth stage of the 75th edition of the Paris-Nice cycling race, between Beaujeu and Mont Brouilly. Photo: Philippe Lopez/Getty Images

Martin’s QuickStep Floors teammate Julian Alaphilippe beat Alberto Contador to first

Ireland’s Sam Bennett celebrates as he crosses the finish line, ahead of Norway’s Alexander Kristoff, Germany’s Marcel Kittel and France’s Arnaud Demare at the end of the 190 km third stage of the 75th edition of the Paris-Nice cycling race, between Chablis and Chalon-sur-Saone. Photo: Philippe Lopez/Getty Images

The 26-year-old from Carrick-on-Suir surged at the last 150m to overtake the pack and win

Mark Downey  celebrates after winning the gold medal in the  World Cup men’s points race final at  Alcides Nieto Patino velodrome in Cali, Colombia. Photograph: Luis Royao/AFP/Getty

Mark Downey and Felix English impress with superb displays in recent World Cups

Mark Downey (L) and Felix English secured an impressive silver medal for Ireland in the track World Cup in Colombia. Photograph: Luis Robayo/Getty

Mark Downey and Felix English secure an impressive silver in Madison event

Mark Downey of Ireland celebrates after winning the gold medal in the UCI Cycling World Cup, men’s points race final, at Alcides Nieto Patino velodrome. Photograph: Getty Images

His victory keeps him on track towards his ambition to win the world title in April

Irish rider Daniel Martin of the Quick-Step Floors team in action during the third stage of the 43rd Algarve Tour, a time trial over 18km, in Sagres, Portugal. Photograph: EPA

The Irish QuickStep Floors rider finishes one minute 40 seconds behind the winner Jonathan Castroviejo

Ireland’s  Daniel Martin of the team Quick-Step Floors cuts the finish line to win the second stage of the Algarve Tour cycling race, over 189.3km between Lagoa and Alto da Foia, Monchique, Portugal. Photograph: EPA

Victory sees Irish rider take over as race leader from teammate Fernando Gaviria

Irish riders Ronan McLaughlin and Eoin Morton pictured at the launch of the 2017 An Post Rás which will begin on Sunday May 21st at Dublin Castle and finish on Sunday May 28th in Skerries. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Race will be 1200 kilometres long with 21 categorised ascents, including two in Donegal

Nicholas Roche: “I need to be stronger for Paris-Nice.” Photograph:  Tim de Waele/TDW Sport

Paris-Nice and Tour de France duty loom large plus personal bid for Vuelta a España

Conor Dunne (left) on the podium after stage two of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Australia. Photograph: Con Chronis.

First podium finish for the new Irish pro squad Aqua Blue Sport

BMC Racing Team rider Nicolas Roche finished 53rd in Thursday’s stage two of  the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in Spain

Irish rider helps BMC Racing Team to victory in Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in Spain

  Sam Bennett of Bora-Hansgrohe celebrates as he crosses the line to win the Men’s Towards Zero Race Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia. Photograph:  Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Carrick-on-Suir man registers the BORA-hansgrohe team’s first success

An Post Chain Reaction Seán Kelly Team launch in  Calpe, Spain:  Matthew Teggart, Seán McKenna, Seán Kelly, Damien Shaw and Conor Hennebry. Photograph: Inpho

An Post has not indicate yet if it will remain involved when current contract finishes at the end of this year

Lydia Boylan’s Team WNT will target Tour Series criteriums in Britain this year. Photograph: Shane Stokes

Cyclist’s Team WNT secures UCI licence and commits to competing in international events

Martyn Irvine: “Deep down I know I have got the tools to do a good job. So I just need to do everything right this year to show that off.”

Former world scratch race champion looking forward to season with Aqua Blue Sport

Sam Bennett:  “My last two experiences of the Tour haven’t been so pretty, so I wouldn’t mind a break from it this year.” Photograph:  Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Bora-hansgrohe’s signing of Peter Sagan means Irishman may sit out Tour de France

Carrick-on-Suir native  Sam Bennett rides with the NetApp Endura team. Photograph: Getty Images.

‘I have gone back to being myself. Just letting the body work with what I have, using my ability to the best’

Irish road bicycle racer  Nicolas Roche:  “I think BMC Racing Team is suited perfectly to me at this time in my career.” Photograph:   Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images

Former Sky racer will assist Richie Porte but will also be given personal opportunities

Matt Brammeier: “I am starting to feel good. Things are coming together well and I am happy with where I am.” Photograph: Tim De Waele/Corbis via Getty Images)

First-ever Irish professional Continental team stepping up preparations for season

Stephen Clancy: “The homes are built out of just scraps of metal here, there and everywhere. There are people washing clothes by hand. It is really an eye-opening sight to see.”

Team Novo Nordisk squad are in the Dominican Republic erecting houses for the local poor

Irish rider Damien Shaw is hoping for a better year with An Post Chain Reaction team. Photograph: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile.

Former national champion Damien Shaw one of four Irish riders to be included in squad

Ireland’s Mark Downey  celebrates winning the gold medal in the men’s points race final during the Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup 2016-2017 in Apeldoorn, Netherlands. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Irishman cyclist is chasing the dream of becoming a World Tour bike rider

Ireland’s  Mark Downey celebrates winning the gold medal in the men’s points race final during the Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup at the sport centre Omnisportin Apeldoorn, Netherlands. Photograph: Getty Images

Irishman seals victory by winning the final sprint, where double points were on offer

Martyn Irvine won  gold and silver medals in the 2013 World Championships: with an indoor velodrome, other Irish cyclists could emulate him. Photograph: Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images

Six Irish riders to compete in seven events at second round of World Cup in Apeldoorn

The Irish-sponsored, Belgian-based cycling team An Post Chain Reaction.

Promising Irish duo confirmed for An Post Chain Reaction

Sam Bennett’s team Bora-Hansgrohe have big ambitions for next year. hotograph: Ciaran Fallon/Inpho.

Dan Martin and Nicolas Roche likely to lead challenges in Tour de France next year

Dan Martin during the 2016 Tour de France. Photograph: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Irish pro expects to make strong challenge in 2017 after best ever effort this year

Michael O’Loughlin of Ireland competes in the Men’s under-23 individual time Trial during day two of the UCI Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images.

Race racer puts in brave showing at under-23 time trial in Qatar.

London 2012 paracycling bronze medal winner James Brown has been given a two and a half year suspension for refusing a doping test in February of this year. Photo: Inpho

Cyclist James Brown won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Paralympic Games

Ireland’s Ryan Mullen in action during the Men’s Elite Individual Time Trial on day four of the UCI Road World Championships at Lusail Sports Complex in Doha, Qatar. (Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Germany’s Tony Martin triumphs as Nicolas Roche places 30th in elite race

Eddie Dunbar: “The course was pan flat, not ideal for a rider of my build. But sometimes you have to go fast on the flat too! I’m really happy with the race.” Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Corkman’s finishes one min 21 secs behind winner at elite road world championships

Sam Bennett (second left) wins stage two of the Giro Della Toscana from Mark Cavendish (right). Photograph: Tim De Waele/Corbis via Getty Images.

Tipperary rider successfully defends title in France to help make amends for unlucky Tour

Ireland’s Sam Bennett defended the Paris-Bourges semi-Classic on Thursday. Photograph:  Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Elite road race championships take place on flat circuit in Doha

Rick Delaney (left) with Director of Performance Operations Leigh Bryan and General Manager Stephen Moore. Photograph: Team Aqua Blue Sport

Aqua Blue Sport plans to be taking part in the Tour de France with three to four years

 Martyn Irvine: “Now I am getting the chance to go back. I am doing 20, 30 hour training weeks now. I probably never did that before. I am getting everything laid down early. I am not going to mess about next year.”

Irvine has signed a two year deal with the first-ever Irish Professional Continental team Aqua Blue Sport

Sam Bennet: “I suppose I put so much pressure on myself I just felt relief.”

Bennett beats Mark Cavendish on second and final stage of the Giro della Toscana

Ireland’s Nicolas Roche has clocked up some good time trial performances recently. Photograph: Getty Images

‘I came here with good motivation, I set myself the goal of a top ten’

Dan Martin is fifth overall after four stages of the tour of Britian. Photograph: Inpho

Both remain close to the general classification contenders but Martin slips to fifth

Team Etixx-Quick Step’s Julien Vermote wins stage two of the 2016 Tour of Britain. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Martin third in second stage and third in overall classification

Dan Martin: “The team is strong, so let’s see what we’re going to do.” Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Cyclist targets wins as Tour of Britain starts while Ronan McLaughlin is best Irish in Japan

 Nicolas Roche fell ill the day after competing in the Olympic road race. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Positive diagnosis for pneumonia and awaiting results of further tests

Nicolas Roche has been forced to pull out of the Vuelta a España due to illness. Photograph: Inpho

‘While I am getting better day by day, I’m just not healthy enough to get on the bike’

Ireland’s Shannon McCurley at the Rio Olympic Velodrome during Thursday’s practice day. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

‘I can’t wait to race. I just want to be out there. . . I just want to race and do my best’

Daniel Martin of Ireland in action during this year’s Tour de France where he finished ninth overall. Photograph: EPA.

Irish duo in final preparations for Rio Olympic games medals attempt

 Daniel Martin of Ireland riding for Etixx-Quick Step finished ninth in the 2016 Le Tour de France. Photograph: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Fellow Irishman Sam Bennett finished in a very solid ninth on the final stage to Paris

 Daniel Martin of Ireland riding for Etixx-Quick Step rides in the peloton during stage ninteen of the 2016 Le Tour de France, a 146km stage from Albertville to Saint Gervais Mont Blanc. Photograph:  Chris Graythen/Getty Images

He’ll start Sunday’s final stage to Paris seven minutes and four seconds behind Froome

Dan Martin is now tenth in the overall leaderboard. Photograph: Getty Images

‘3,000 kilometers in the legs, some very fast flat kilometers, it’s normal to feel tired’

 Irish rider Daniel Martin and Fabio Aru, ride in the pack at the “Nydeggstalden” hill in the old town of Berne, during the 16th stage of the 103rd edition of the Tour de France. Photograph: EPA

He placed 28th and remains five minutes and three seconds behind leader Chris Froome

Sam Bennett finished a solid 12th in the 14th stage of the Tour de France. Photograph: Getty

Irish rider has struggled for confidence after nasty fall earlier in the Tour de France

Ireland’s Sam Bennett (centre) in visible pain after his fall in the first stage of the 2016 Tour de France on July 2nd. Photograph: Getty.

After a disastrous crash on stage one the Irishman is riding through pain for greater gain

Daniel Martin of Ireland and team Etixx QuickStep on the climb to Mont Ventoux during Thursday’s 12th stage. Photograph:Michael Steele/Getty Images.

Despite a recent setback Etixx QuickStep rider hopes to gain on leaders in mountain stages

Dan Martin rides up the Andorra Arcalis during stage nine in Andorra la Vella. Photograph: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Irish rider restarts Tour after first rest day: ‘I find myself in an excellent position’

Colombia’s Nairo Quintana, Australia’s Richie Porte, Britain’s Christopher Froome, wearing the overall leader’s yellow jersey, all chase Ireland’s Dan Martin in the rain - between Vielha Val d’Aran and Andorre Arcalis. Photograph: Getty Images

Martin is up from fourth to third overall - just 19 seconds behind race leader Chris Froome

Team Sky rider Chris Froome celebrates his win on stage eighth of the Tour de France at Bagneres-de-Luchon. Photograph:  Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

Irish rider comes second behind new leader Chris Froome and moves up to fourth on GC

Ireland’s  Sam Bennett suffered  injuries to his shoulder and finger after a crash late on the first stage of the Tour de France. Photograph:  Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Bora Argon 18 team to decide on Sunday morning if Irish rider can continue

Sam Bennett  celebrates winning stage two of the 2015 Arctic Race of Norway. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Dan Martin and Sam Bennett start world’s most famous cycle race with big targets in mind

AG2R la Mondiale’s Romain Bardet, Sky rider Christopher Froome and Dan Martin celebrating on the podium after the Critérium du Dauphiné. Photograph: AFP Photo/LIonel Bonaventure

Etixx-QuickStep rider Dan Martin takes superb second on final stage

 Sam Bennett, right, finishing in third place on the second stage of the Dauphine Criterium behind winner   Nacer Bouhanni and second-placed Jens Debusschere. Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty

Bora-Argon 18 rider pleased with good form heading towards the Tour de France

Martyn Irvine pictured at the launch of the 2016 An Post Rás at Dublin Castle. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

Track world champion gets buzz back after spending week working on Rás

Clemens Fankhauser secured the An Post Rás for a second time. Photograph: Getty

Austrian recovered from serious crash on day two to hold off a flurry of attacks

Eddie Dunbar crosses the line to secure victory in the  An Post Rás Stage seven. Photograph: Inpho

Becomes one of a select group of teenage stage winners after taking sprint into Baltinglass

Former UCI president Hein Verbruggen has won his libel case against journalist and former professional cyclist   Paul Kimmage. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Journalist and former pro cyclist must pay damages, costs and publicise Swiss court’s ruling in case taken by former UCI president(...)

The riders in An Post Rás  climb the Caha Pass during yesterday’s fifth stage to Clonakilty. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Matthew Holmes and Damien Shaw pile pressure on leader Clemens Fankhauser

Nicolai Brochner of Denmark winning the Rás stage into Sneem. Photograph: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Eddie Dunbar slips from fourth to 12th overall after suffering mechanical problems

The chasing bunch climb the Conor Pass on stage 3 of the An Post Rás. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Irish national team rider Eddie Dunbar was a solid eighth, seven seconds back

Eoin Morton celebrates winning the second stage of the the An Post Rás in Charleville. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Eoin Morton and Bryan McCrystal opened up seven-minute lead on chasing professionals

Taco van der Hoom of The Netherlands celebrates as he crosses the line to win the first stage of the An Post Rás in Multyfarnham. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

Jack Wilson best of Irish cyclists in fifth place

Jack Wilson (right) has been named in the An Post Chain Reaction team for the Rás. Photograph: Ciaran Fallon/Inpho

Orwell Wheelers look at option of running championships in Wicklow

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