Eoghan Clifford: won the MC3 time trial at the World Championships in Notwil, Switzerland. Photo: Oliver Kremer/Getty

Dan Martin in contract negotiations for next year and beyond

Ciaran Kelly pictured with Sean Kelly (no relation) in 2005.

Amateur rider blamed contaminated meat after testing positive for Clenbuterol in 2014

Sam Bennett withdrew from this year’s Tour de France after a fever on Tuesday night. Photograph: Inpho.

Bora-Argon 18 team manager Ralph Denk has high hopes for the future for Irishman

 Dan Martin  climbs the Col du Tourmalet during stage 11 of the Tour de France. The Irish rider finished second. Photograph:   Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Consolation comes by way of a stage second and day’s award for most competitive rider

 Dan Martin finished second on the eighth stage of the Tour de France between Rennes and Mur-de-Bretagne. Photograph:    Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Irish rider left frustrated after being hampered when Frenchman made final break

The pack rides during the 159.5 km third stage of the 102nd edition of the Tour de France cycling race  between the belgian cities of Antwerp and Huy. Photo: Eric Feferberg/Getty Images

The Irish rider finished five seconds behind Joaquim Rodriguez and Chris Froome

After the race’s first rest day on July 13th, the battle continues with three mountain stages, each ending with uphill finishes.  Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty

Contador, Froome, defending champion NIbali and Quintana all set out with high hopes

One of Tour de France favourites Alberto Contador told press conference in Utrecht yesterday completing the Giro/Tour  double would be a career-changing achievement. Photograph: Vincent Jannink/EPA

Martin capable of stage wins, Bennett may also contend, Roche will lack opportunity

Team Sky’s Chris Froome is the favourite for this year’s Tour de France. Photograph: Tim Ireland/PA Wire.

Irish rider determined to help team-mate Chris Froome win back crown

First-year senior Eddie Dunbar illustrates his potential with second-place finish

Ryan Mullen: will be aiming to complete an impressive double in the national championships. Photo: Ciaran Fallon/Inpho

Rule change means last year’s first home aiming for Elite title this time around

Sam Bennett has been confirmed as one of Bora-Argon18’s two leaders for the Tour de France. Photograph: Getty

Nicolas Roche and Philip Deignan may still make team while Sam Bennet leader for Bora-Aragon18

Dan Martin: his seventh overall in last week’s Critérium du Dauphiné should also hand him leadership status with the Cannondale Garmin squad. Photograph: by Bryan Lennon/Getty Images

Cyclist a certainty for Le Tour after placing seventh overall in Critérium du Dauphiné

Dan Martin might have finished sixth if not for a puncture on Saturday. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Strong finish in Critérium Du Dauphiné augurs well for Tour

Sam Bennett: has been named  co-leader for the Bora-Argon18 team for his first Tour de France. Photograph: INPHO/Ciaran Fallon

Irish cyclist currently out of action with cold

Dan Martin finished 11th in Thursday’s stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images.

Irish duo move up standings after mountainous stage of Critérium du Dauphiné

Matt Brammeier cycling ahead of Conor Dunne in the 2014 National Cycling Championships. Photograph: Ciaran Fallon

Multiple Irish road race champion aiming for Vuelta a España ride in August

Matt Brammeier (right): the  former Irish road race champion has never competed in the Tour de France. Photograph: Inpho

MTN Qhubeka team general manager Brian Smith says Brammeier is on long list for Vuelta a España

Aidis Kruopis celebrates as he crosses the line to win stage eight  of the  An Post Rás from  Drogheda to  Skerries. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

Tirol Cycling rider the second consecutive Austrian to win title

 Andreas Mueller of  Hrinkow Advarics  Cycleangteam crosses the line to win Stage 7  of the 2015 An Post Rás from Ballinamore to Drogheda. Photo:  Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

Leader Lukas Postlberger confident of making final stage despite bad fall

 Ian Bibby on his way to winning stage six  of the 2015 An Post Rás from Ballina to Ballinamore. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

Irish road race champion Ryan Mullen slips back from leader on stage six

Ryan Mullen, of An Post Chainreaction, after receiving the The Irish Sports Council under-23 white jersey from Miss An Post Rás Donna McCaffrey and Liz Murphy, Mayo Sports Partnership board member, following Stage Five of the 2015 An Post Rás in Ballina. Photograph: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile.

Martyn Irvine drops from third to ninth place after 142.2km stage as Aaron Gate is first to finish line

Lithuania’s Aidis Kruopis won the foruth stage of the An Post Rás after a sprint finish. Photograph: Sportsfile

Lithuania’s Aidis Kruopis wins 155km Bearna to Newport race in a sprint finish

Matteo Malucelli celebrates as he crosses the line in Bearna. Photograph: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

UCD’s Ian Richardson continues impressive showing as he moves up to fourth overall

New Zealand’s Aaron Gate won the second stage of the An Post Rás. Photograph: Sportsfile

Italian grabbed vehicle afer puncture allowing Kiwi Aaron Gate to secure stage two

Conor Dunne of An Post Chain Reaction (left) failed to cross into to top group in the first stage of An Post Rás. Photograph: Ciaran Fallon/Inpho.

Irvine, Mullen and Richardson lead Irish charge on opening stage

Irish rider Sam Bennett (right) of team Bora Argon 18 in action during the Tour of Bavaria cycle race. Photograph:  Rene Vigneron /Bayern Rundfahrt /dpa

Irish cyclist kicks late to win sprint finish and regain lead ahead of today’s time trial

Irish rider Sam Bennett on the podium earlier this week. Of yesterday’s sprint he said: “I think I was about 10th when the sprint started. I moved up to fourth by the line, but needed to be closer before it began”

Bennett finds himself third overall, four seconds behind John Degenkolb

Philip Deignan is in line for his first Tour de France appearance this July. Photograph: Inpho

Omission from Team Sky squad for the Giro d’Italia suggests July appearance on cards

Nicholas Roche of Ireland was involved in a large crash which brought him and Dan Martin down inside the final hour of the Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Photo: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Both had been in contention and would likely have challenged in the hilly finale

 Dan Martin: crashed early in Wednesday’s race and while he was able to return to the peloton, withdrew as a precaution. Photograph:  Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Irish cyclist still recovering from crash in Wednesday’s Fleche Wallonne

Dan Martin was forced to pull out of the Flèche Wallonne Classic after a crash. Photograph: Inpho

Cannondale-Garmin rider’s hopes of victory in Belgium ended by fall

 Irish cyclist Sam Bennett. EPA/CARLOS BARBA

‘I did hit my head very hard, so I was dizzy and my upper scalp is sore,’ says cyclist

 Sam Bennett of the Bora-Argon 18 team after falling during the  “Scheldeprijs” one-day race. Photograph: AFP

Bora-Argon18 team rider spends night in hospital

Ryan Mullen said he had “many sleepless nights” after narrowly missing out on victory Ponferrada. Photograph: Ciaran Fallon/Inpho

Cyclist hopes to make up for missing gold by 0.48 seconds in time trial championships

Tejay Van Garderen celebrates winning ahead of Colombian Rigoberto Uran (left) of Etixx-Quick Step team during the stage four of Volta a Catalunya cycling race, in La Molina,  Spain, 26th March 2015. Photograph: EPA/TONI ALBIR

Ninth fourth-place performance at the Volta A Catalunya in Spain

Sam Bennett will be part of the Bora-Argon 18 team’s line-up for Sunday’s Classic, Milan-San Remo. Photograph: Inpho

Carrick-on-Suir rider hoping to gain experience prior to his first Tour de France

Sam Bennett: likely be given a slot on the squad for  the Tour de France squad in July. Photograph: Carlos Barba/EPA

Carrick- on-Suir rider finished just behind Jens Debusschere and Peter Sagan

Pat McQuaid:  “The report completely clears me of any corruption, any wrongdoing or any complicity in doping,” he said on RTÉ radio. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images.

‘It wasn’t a question of defending or protecting Lance Armstrong . . . we tested over 200 times and he never tested positive’

A report has accused the UCI of colluding with drug cheat Lance Armstrong. Photograph: Afp

A report 13 months in the making delivered a very scathing review of the UCI and Lance Arsmstrong

Philip Deignan will compete with the Sky team in the Tour de Langkawi. Photograph: Getty Images.

Irish duo hoping Malaysian race will eventually lead to Tour de France

Ireland’s Caroline Ryan, Lydia Boylan, Lauren Creamer and Josie Knight in action at the Track World Championships. Photograph: Guy Swarbrick/Sportsfile

Irish rider finishes 10th after missing vital break by Bobby Lea with 23 laps remaining

An arbitration panel has ordered Lance Armstrong and Tailwind Sports to pay $10 million in a fraud dispute to SCA Promotions. Photograph: Getty Images.

Disgraced cyclist ordered to pay $10m fine to Dallas-based promotions company

 Lance Armstrong, once of the US Postal team, seen here during a press conference in 2001. Armstrong has been ordered to pay a record $10 million (€88m) to Texas-based firm SCA promotions after losing a lawsuit.  Photograph: Benoit Doppagne / EPA

Drug cheat was paid about $12 million by company before Tour de France titles stripped

Irelands Sam Bennett  from team Bora-Argon 18 celebrates after winning the sixth and final Stage of the Tour of Qatar. Photograph: Getty Images

Bennett sprints clear on final stage to record first win of the year

 Nicolas Roche: will be hoping to compete for Team Sky  in this year’s Tour de France. Photo: Dara Mac Dónaill

Carrick-on-Suir rider has another chance in today’s final stage

 Sam Bennett: is in his second pro season and aims to build on the four wins he clocked up in 2014. Photograph: Inpho

Carrick-on- Suir cyclist suffers mechanical issues and a puncture on the opening leg of the Mallorca Challenge

 Martyn Irvine:  has had his season hampered by a collarbone injury. Photograph: Ciarán Fallon.

Former world scratch race champion Martyn Irvine expected to race in France

Matt Brammeier told The Irish Times he first made contact with MTN Qhubeka m last summer, realising it would be an ideal fit. Photograph: Inpho

Multiple Irish champion’s first event will be the Cadel Evans Great Ocean race in Australia on February 1st

Sam Bennett: “I didn’t get an opportunity last year, but hopefully this year I will, and I really hope to be ready for it.” Photograph: INPHO

Bennett and his Bora-Argon 18 team almost certain to gain wildcard access to Tour de France

Matt Brammeier: “Hopefully I will be off to Mallorca for a training camp with the team, then get racing after that.” Photo: Ciaran Fallon/Inpho

Five-time Irish national champion satisfied that a new team deal is imminent

Dan Martin celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 108th edition of the Giro di Lombardia in October. Photograph:  Luk Benies/AFP/Getty Images

After a turbulent 2014, the Irish cyclist has set a wider range of goals for next year

Sam Bennett: “I am more confident in my ability now.” Photograph: Carlos Barba/EPA

Now over illness Carrick-on-Suir rider is aiming for Tour de France

New Team Sky rider Nicolas Roche is aims to make most of his chances this season. Photograph: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Chris Froome’s new team-mate scheduled to make his racing debut in Spain in February

Martyn Irvine sustained a fractured collar bone in Mexico last month. Photograph: Getty Images.

Cycling Ireland hope their only omnium rider can take line in London to assure place at world championships

Matt Brammeier is yet to make his plans for next season public. Photograph: Ciaran Fallon/INPHO

Road race champion yet to reveal set-up for 2015

Martin Irvine with his silver medal from the Track Cycling World Championships in  Columbia in January. Photograph: Inpho

2013 world scratch race champion sustained injury in World Cup omnium event in Mexico

Ryan Mullen: “It’s been a great year for me and that’s down to the experience I’m getting with the team. Photograph: Inpho

Irish road race champion had options with other teams

Former world scratch race champion Martyn Irvine is competing in Mexico. Photograph:  Guy Swarbrick/Inpho

A dozen Irish riders are in Guadalajara, Mexico in the competition’s opening round

Matt Brammeier, then of Synergy Baku Cycling Project, leads Conor Dunne (An Post Chain Reaction) during the 2014 Irish National Cycling Championships. Photograph: Ciarán Fallon/Inpho.

Former Irish road race champion about to announce new team

The itinerary for the 2015 Tour de France is seen during its presentation at a news conference in Paris yesterday. The world’s greatest cycling event will start from Utrecht in the Netherlands on July 4th. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Cobblestones to feature again in route that will include just 14 individual time trial kilometres

 Martyn Irvine: crashed in team pursuit but passed fit to take his place in the multi-event omnium.  Photograph: Inpho.

Martyn Irvine uninjured in team pursuit and set to start omnium event

Ireland’s Daniel Martin  finished second in the Tour of Beijing. Photograph: Antonio Calanni

Fellow Irishman Philip Deignan completes the race in 18th place

Ireland’s Dan Martin  of Garmin-Sharp winning a stage in Beijing yesterday. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Attack by Garmin-Sharp team-mate on final climb allows Irish rider to pounce

Ireland’s Dan Martin after his excellent showing to win the Tour of Lombardy in Bergamo, Italy, on Sunday, October 5th, 2014. Photograph: Antonio Calanni/AP

Il Lombardia winner set on victory after runner-up podium finish in 2013

Ireland’s Dan Martin of the Garmin team celebrates as he crosses the finnish line to win the 108th edition of the Giro di Lombardia (Tour of Lombardy). Photograph:  LukBenies/AFP/Getty Images)

Garmin Sharp rider jumps away inside final 600m to land prestigious race in Italy

 Nicolas Roche has signed with TEam Sky for 2015. Photograph:  by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

‘I think going to Sky for me is a good move. I am 30, getting old but not that old. I still feel that I can still learn more’

 Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski on his way to win the Men Elite Road Race during the 2014 UCI Road World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain, yesterday. Photograph: Javier Lizon/EPA

24-year-old attacks on final lap, striking out alone on last race climb in Ponferrada, Spain

Germany’s Jonas Bokeloh wins sprint finish, O’Loughlin back in 44th place

Bradley Wiggins: The success earned him his first road race world title, adding to the six track world championship titles and four Olympic golds he has won previously. Photograph: Getty Images

Third time lucky for English rider who finished second twice in last three years

Carrick-on-Suir rider slips out of the medal places while Mark Downey finishes 34th

Silver medal winner Ryan Mullen of Ireland chats to race winner Campbell Flakemore of Australia on the podium for the under-23 Men’s Individual Time Trial on day two of the UCI Road World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

20-year-old rider beaten into silver medal by just 0.48 of a second

Ryan Mullen (An Post Chain Reaction) making a solo effort for the win. Photograph: Ciaran Fallon/Inpho

‘I am a year stronger, my watts are better, my position is better and I am lighter’

 Alex Dowsett of Great Britain and Movistar watches the TV to check if he has taken the race lead after stage six of the Tour of Britain from Bath to Hemel Hempstead. Photograph:  Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Nicolas Roche remains fourth overall in the Tour of Britain behind new race leader Alex Dowsett

Nicolas Roche: he tried to get closer to race leader Michal Kwiatkowski on yesterday’s fifth stage of the Tour of Britain. Photograph: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Roche sprints in ninth on stage, finishing as part of 35-man group

  Edoardo Zardini of Bardiani CSF celebrates on the podium after winning Stage Three of the 2014 Tour of Britain from Newtown to Abergavenny. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Italy’s Edoardo Zardini emerged triumphant claiming the overall leader’s yellow jersey

The pack during yesterday’s  15th stage of the Vuelta a Espana,  held over 152.2km between Oviedo and Lagos de Covadonga in northern Spain. Photograph: Javier Lizon/EPA

Rider cut his leg badly when he went over a guardrail and ended up in a ravine in Spanish race

If things go to plan, Nicolas Roche would hope to be challenging  for  general classification honours at the upcoming Tour of Britain. Photograph:  Harry Engels/Velo/Getty Images

Strong showing in GP Ouest France pleases Tinkoff-Saxo rider

 German cyclist   John Degenkolb celebrates after winning the 12th stage of La Vuelta a Espana. Photograph: Javier Lizon  / EPA

German John Degenkolb takes his third stage win after crash late on stage 12

Paralympic cyclist Mark Rohan who finished fourth  in the H2 road race. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

World road championship haul includes gold medal for Eoghan Clifford

The pack in action during the ninth stage of the 69th Vuelta Ciclista cycling race. Photograph: Javier Lizon/EPA

Unfortunate timing but Martin finished with Froome and Valverde

  Dan Martin of Ireland . Photograph:  Harry Engels /Getty Images

Garmin-Sharp rider was beaten by late burst from Australian sprint specialist Michael Matthews

Ireland’s Dan Martin celebrates as he crosses the finish line to take the ninth stage of the Vuelta a Espana in La Covatilla, near Salamanca, three years ago. Photograph: Jose Jordan/Getty Images

The Garmin-Sharp rider feels that mentally he’s never been in the better shape

 Philip Deignan in action during this year’s  Giro d’Italia. His form there and in the recent Tour of Poland have him full of confidence going into the Vuelta a España. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Velo/Getty Images

Team Sky rider feeling good after seventh place finish in Tour of Poland

Tinkoff-Saxo rider Nicolas Roche: believes a third Grand Tour in one season would be too much. Photograph: Inpho

Dan Martin continues build-up to Vuelta in French Tour de l’Ain

Sam Bennett: will ride in the Prudential RideLondon Classic on Sunday

The 23-year-old rider returns UCI-ranked races

Nicolas Roche of Ireland in action during the 11th stage – Besancon to Oyonnax – of the  Tour de France 2014 earlier this month. His solo move was reeled in before the line, but he earned the most aggressive rider award on the stage.   Photograph:   Nicolas Bouvy/EPA

Irishman spent most of the race riding for other

Saxo Tinkoff’s Nicolas Roche

Irish man still hungry for stage win

Last year’s winner, Britain’s Chris Froome (left), and Spain’s Alberto Contador in action during the ninth stage – between Saint-Girons and Bagnères-de-Bigorre – of last year’s Tour de France. The pair lock horns again in what promises to be one of the closest contests since Cadel Evans’ victory in 2011. Photograph: Jeff Pachoud/Getty Images

Alberto Contador looks the formbook pick after some recent eye-catching wins

Ryan Mullen (An Post Chain Reaction) comes home to win the National Cycling Championships. Photograph: Ciaran Fallon/Inpho

New Irish road race champion has his eyes on Portugal

Ireland’s  Nicolas Roche is back in action in Northern Spain tomorrow.

Also riding tomorrow will be Roche’s first cousin Dan Martin

Ryan Mullen celebrates after winning the National Road Race title in Multyfarnham yesterday. Photograph: Ciaran Fallon/Inpho.

Victory comes three days after winning National under-23 time-trial

The four victories of Sam Bennett (pictured in front) in his debut season as a professional may have marked him out as the most successful rider on his NetApp Endura team, in terms of wins, but the German squad confirmed yesterday that he would not be riding this year’s Tour de France. Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

Cyclist disappointed at news, having hoped his strong run would see him gain a place

Daniel Martin of the Garmin-Sharp team: fractured collarbone has healed but he is yet to resume racing Photograph: Getty Images

Irish rider to focus more on the Vuelta a España in August and September

Dan Martin of Ireland and Garmin-Sharp will be part of the strong field entered for the Elite men’s event  at the national road race championships in Multyfarnham. Photograph:  Harry Engels/Velo/Getty Images

Tinkoff-Saxo rider cites tough training and racing programme as he misses out again

Jaroslav Kulhavy  on his way to winning the Men’s Mountain Bike race at  the 2012 Olympic Games at Hadleigh Farm in  Essex. The Czech Republic rider will be in Ballhoura, Co Limerick, this weekend for the European marathon championship.  Photograph:   Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Co Limerick venue hosts European marathon championship

 Dan Martin riding in the 2012 Tour de France. The Irish cyclist has recovered from the fractured collarbone sustained in the Giro d’Italia and hopes to ride in this year’s edition of the Tour. Photograph:  Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

A month after fracturing his collarbone Dan Martin lines out in his Cycle4life fundraiser

Philip Deignan leads Fabio Duarte and eventual stage winner Julian Arredondo on the final climb to Rifugio Panarotta yesterday. Photograph: Team Sky.

It’s the best Irish result since Stephen Roche was third on a stage in 1989

Race leader  Rigoberto Uran of the Omega Pharma Quick Step would appear to be at an advantage in today’s stage of the Giro d’Italia, which includes three major climbs, as he and his fellow Colombians are  more accustomed to riding at altitude. Photograph:  Luca Zennaro/EPA

But snow could yet force changes or even stage cancellation

David Ballerini crosses the line to win the final stage in Skerries yesterday. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho.

Italy’s Davide Ballerini wins final stage to Skerries

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