Robert-Jon McCarthy celebrates victory in stage two of the Ras. Photograph: Bryan Keane /Inpho

McCarthy won opening stage of race in 2014 when competing with Australian nationality

Britain’s Simon Yates celebrates after winning the 15th stage of the Giro d’Italia, from Tolmezzo to Sappada. Photograph: Daniel Dal Zennaro/ANSA via AP

Sam Bennett remains second in points standings while Nicolas Roche withdraws

Cyrille Thiery of the Switzerland National Team wins the first stage of the Rás Tailteann from  Drogheda to Athlone. Photograph: Inpho

Irish riders Jake Gray lie in third place overall while former national champion Damien Shaw is seventh

Elia Viviani (right)  pips Ireland’s  Sam Bennett (Team Bora-Hansgrohe)  and Danny Van Poppel of ( Team LottoNL-Jumbo) and Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC Racing) in a sprint to the line during Stage 13 of the Tour of Italy at Nervesa Della Battaglia. Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Irishman forced to settle for second spot as Viviani pips him in sprint finish

Sam Bennett celebrates as he crosses the line to take Stage 12 of the Giro D’Italia. Photograph: Luk Benies/AFP

Irish rider emulates Stephen Roche in 1987 by winning a second stage in this year’s race

Slovakia’s Matej Mohoric sprints to win the 10th stage  of the Giro D’Italia. Photograph: Luk Benies/AFP

Irish rider finishes third on stage 10 behind winner Matej Mohoric and Nico Denz

Irish rider Sam Bennett crosses the line ahead of Italy’s Elia Viviani. Photograph: Luk Benies/AFP

Bennett pips Viviani to become first Irish winner of a stage since Stephen Roche in 1987

Sam Bennett: Giro d’Italia taking a mainly flat route to Praia a Mare on Friday. Photograph: Ciaran Fallon/Inpho

Bora-Hansgrohe rider showing strong form as he hunts first Grand Tour stage win

 Italian rider Enrico Battaglin crossing the  line to win the fifth stage of the Giro d’Italia over 153km from Agrigento to Santa Ninfa. Photograph: Daniel Dalzennaro

Enrico Battaglin beats fellow Italian Giovanni Visconti to the line in Santa Ninfa

Elia Viviana (L) crosses the finish line in stage three of the Giro D’Italia. Photograph: Luk Benies/AFP

Bora-Hansgrohe racer finishes behind Elia Viviani and Sacha Modolo in Eilat

Ryan Mullen: “I’m a TT rider and I’m here to ride the TT, so I’m going to give it my best like I always do and see where that gets me.” Photograph: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

Irish Trek-Segafredo rider going for strong start against the clock in Jerusalem

Bob Jungels of Luxembourg (Quick-Step Floors team) on his way to winning the race in Liège, Belgium on Sunday. Photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

Puncture leaves Irish rider finishing in 18th place at Liège-Bastogne-Liège classic

 Daniel Martin:  won the Liège-Bastogne-Liège Classic five years ago and finished runner-up in the race last year. Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Irish rider will mount bid for a second victory in Liège-Bastogne-Liège Classic

Dan Martin (centre): “I feel ready to head into some of my favourite races.” Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty

Irish rider in ‘good condition’ and looking forward to Sunday’s Amstel Gold

Lydia Boylan of the Ireland team competes in the Women’s Omnium Scratch Race at UCI World Cycling in Hong Kong in April 2017. Photograph: Getty Images

Also: first international teams announced for this year’s Rás Tailteann in Drogheda

Viner Caremark Pactimo rider  Conor Hennebry: finished close to his main rivals and won by two seconds over Toby Atkins (Active Racing Team). Photograph: Inpho

Rupert Graham (Spirit Tifosi RT) wins the final stage and the overall classification in Tour of the North

 Ryan Mullen during the fifth stage of the  Tour of Algarve between Faro and Alto do Malhao last month Photograph:   Filipe Amorim/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Irish racing cyclist gearing up to make his mark for his new Trek-Segafredo team

Irish racing cyclist Daniel Martin  during the  Volta Ciclista a Catalunya in Camprodon, Spain, on Wednesday. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

UAE Team Emirates cyclist deflated after finishing 19th behind Valverde in first place

 Colombian rider Alvaro Hodeg celebrates as he wins the first stage of the Volta a Catalunya in Calella, Barcelona, ahead of Ireland’s Sam Bennett. Photograph: PA

Fellow Irishmen Dan Martin, Nicolas Roche and Philip Deignan also finished in main bunch

Ireland’s Mark Downey leads the Volta ao Alentejo in Portugal after the second stage. Photograph:  Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Team Wiggins cyclist has transferred his track form to the road at Volta ao Alentejo

Dan Martin:  Placed 22nd, one minute 36 seconds off the yellow jersey. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Tour de France: Irish cyclist will have to rely on strong climbing form to reach podium

 British cyclist Bradley Wiggins celebrating his win in the Tour de France in 2012. Photograph: Pascal Pavani/AFP/Getty Images)

Inquiry questions cyclist’s use of powerful corticosteroid prior to Tour de France

Robyn Stewart became the first Irish woman to compete in the women’s sprint at the track world championships. Photograph: Bryn  Lennon/Getty

First Irish rider to compete in women’s sprint at the track world championships

Irish riders Lydia Boylan and Lydia Gurley  in London last year. The pair  will ride the women’s Madison on Saturday week at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships. Photograph:  Kieran Galvin/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Cycling Ireland director says group is one of strongest Irish teams to compete at worlds

Daniel Martin racing in the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal. He took fourth in the second stage. Photograph: Getty Images

Roche plays role in setting up teammate Van Avermaet for stage victory in Oman

Cyclists  cross the finish line in the 2017 An Post Rás,  in Skerries, Co Dublin.  File photograph: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

This year’s edition will feature 34 climbs, including four category-one ascents

Nicolas Roche is competing in the Dubai Tour. Photograph: Jonathan Porter/Inpho

Mark Cavendish takes third stage as Irish duo perform well on the route to Fujairah

 Danish rider Lasse Norman Hansen of  Aqua Blue Sports celebrates taking stage one of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Victoria, Australia. Photograph:  Con Chronis/Getty Images

Winning at Jayco Herald Sun Tour shows Irish team is able to beat those on WorldTour squads

Sam Bennett:  claimed his first win of the season in the Towards Zero Race Melbourne criterium. Photograph: Ciaran Fallon/Inpho

Win in Melbourne criterium follows Ryan Mullen taking stage at the Vuelta a San Juan

Ryan Mullen  covered the 14.4km distance in 17 minutes 43 seconds, beating Italian Filippo Ganna by 25 seconds. Photograph: Getty Images

Irish Trek-Segafredo rider ‘super happy’ after clinching first win as a pro in Argentina

Ireland’s Sam Bennett suffered a mechanical problem, ending his chances in the opening leg of the Santos Tour Down Under. Photograph: Philippe/AFP/Getty Images

Bora-Hansgrohe’s Irish rider struggling in first three stages of Santos Tour Down Under

Ireland’s Sam Bennett: bravely battling a head cold. Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Organisers still searching for a new title sponsor following An Post’s withdrawal

Nicolas Roche: “The plan now is to ride the Giro, and then which one of the next two Grand Tours is not quite certain.” Photograph: Bryan Lennon/Getty Images

Roche gets year under way in Tour of Dubai, while Martin will start in Portugal

Sam Bennett heads towards 2018 as a much more confident rider. Photograph: Getty Images

Carrick-on-Suir rider to make 2018 debut in People’s Choice Classic in Adelaide

Mark Downey, pictured celebrating after winning gold medal in the UCI Cycling World Cup in February  in  Colombia,  will join the Team Wiggins squad in 2018. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Organisers of cycling event will seek number of smaller sponsors to fill An Post gap

Sam Bennett: was third on the points classification in the Giro d’Italia earlier this year. Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty

Irish rider did well on his debut in Italy last year – but will miss out on Tour de France

Mark Downey  celebrating a victory in  Cali, Colombia last year. “I’m confident that I’ve chosen the right move team-wise, and am very motivated to get back racing. Photograph: Luis Robayo/AFP/Getty

Plan is to peak for the World Championships in three months’ time

Dan Martin in the Tour de France this year: cyclist has left the QuickStep Floors squad he competed with for the past two years, and joined  UAE Team Emirates. Photograph:  Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Dan Martin eyes Tour de France podium finish with new UAE Team Emirates squad

Ireland’s  Ryan Mullen:  ““I don’t know my programme yet. We have a team camp in December, where I guess we will get the race programme.” Photograph: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Over 120 groups have now called for start of 2018 Giro to be moved from Israel

New Rás race organiser Eimear Dignam (right) with Alma Grimes and Mateo Cigala during the 2016 race. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho.

Eimear Dignam takes up the role of race organiser

Lydia Boylan: ‘Each race is a learning experience for us.’ Photograph:  Kevin Lee/Getty Images

Lydia Gurley and Lydia Boylan performed strongly at the women’s Madison on Saturday

 Ryan Mullen: the dual Irish road race and time trial champion has signed a two-year deal with the American WorldTour team. Photograph: EPA

Irish team set for action in round two of track World Cup in Manchester

 Marc Potts: he will compete in the scratch qualifiers on Friday, and, all going well, will ride the scratch final on Saturday.  Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

News the An Post Chainreaction/Sean Kelly team will not be part of 2018 peloton a blow to Irish cycling

Martyn Irvine has announced his second retirement from cycling. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Irish rider will take up the role of Sport Director with team Aqua Blue Sport

 An Post Chainreaction  team: Matthew Teggart, Seán McKenna, Seán Kelly, Damien Shaw and Conor Hennebry at the 2017 team launch in Calpe, Spain.  Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Brexit and crisis in Catalonia ‘made it difficult for us’, says team founder Seán Kelly

Strong performances from Dan Martin saw the Irish cyclist place in the top 10 of UCI’s rankings for road riders. Photograph:  Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Sam Bennett and Nicolas Roche also ranked inside the top 100 of the WorldTour rankings

Nicolas Roche finished third in inaugural Tour of Guangxi. Photograph: Jonathan Porter/Inpho

Irish rider secures maiden WorldTour general classification podium finish in China

Cyclists compete in the Tour of Guangxi cycling race in Beihai in China’s southern Guangxi region last week.  Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Irishman heads into final stage of race looking confident for overall podium finish

 Lydia Boylan (pictured) and Lydia Gurley claimed silver in the Madison at the European track championships in Berlin. Photograph:  Kevin Lee/Getty Images

Nicolas Roche in third position at Tour of Guangxi in China

Ireland’s  Marc Potts finished fourth in the men’s scratch race at the European Track Championships in Berlin. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Team of nine cyclists hope to follow up on last winter’s superb track campaign

Sam Bennett crashed out in the final stae of the Tour of Turkey. Photo: Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images

Looking to win his fifth stage, the Irish rider crashed on the final corner

Sam Bennett won his  fourth stage on the   Presidential Tour of Turkey on Saturday. Photograph: Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images

Irish cyclist completes his season’s goal with victory in Izmir

Ireland’s Sam Bennett (centre) in action during the Presidential Tour of Turkey. Photograph:  Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images

Waterford rider takes third consecutive stage win in Marmaris

Sam Bennett from the BoraHansgrohe team in the turquoise leader’s jersey sprints to win the second stage of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey 2017. Photo: Artur Widak/Getty Images

Irish Bora-hansgrohe sprinter comfortably beat Edward Theuns for eighth win this year

 Sam Bennett:  “The sport is gaining popularity every year. A sponsor has nothing to lose but so much to gain.” Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)

Hunt for a new sponsor to succeed An Post now reaching a critical stage

Ireland’s Nicolas Roche at the UCI Cycling Road World Championships on September 20th, 2017 in Bergen, Norway: looking good ahead of Il Lombardia Classic.  Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images

Irish cyclist crosses line 19 seconds behind Italian race winner Giovanni Visconti

Sam Bennett: benefitted form his spell with the An Post Chainreaction team. Photograph: Ciaran Fallon/Inpho

Team boss Kurt Bogaerts says urgent negotiations are continuing with two companies

Mark Downey of Ireland celebrates winning during the Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup in the Netherlands last year. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Ireland’s highest result thus far from the 2017 cycling world road championships

Ireland’s Nicolas Roche  during the men’s elite individual time trial at the UCI Cycling Road World Championships in Bergen, Norway. Photograph: Jonathan  Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images

Irish cyclist finishes 12th in Elite men’s time trial as Dutchman Tom Dumoulin takes glory

British cyclist Chris Froome celebrates retaining the red jersey on the podium of the 18th stage of the 72nd edition of Vuelta a España. Photograph: Jose Jordan/AFP/Getty Images

Sander Armee wins stage 18 while Nicolas Roche finishes 41st to put him 17th overall

Stefan Denifl celebrates winning the 17th stage of the Vuelta a España. Photogrpah: Jose Jordan/AFP

Chris Froome suffers set back as he loses 42 seconds to Vincenzo Nibali on 17th stage

Nicolas Roche fought back from a puncture to finish 10th on stage 13 of the Vuelta. Photograph: Peter Foley/EPA

Duo win WB Tandem Time Trial at UCI 2017 Para-cycling Road World Championships

Nicolas Roche bounced back with an aggressive showing at the Vuelta a España. Photo: Javier Lizon/Getty Images

Meanwhile the Irish team Aqua Blue Sport’s bus was destroyed by a fire overnight

Sky’s Chris Froome rides with the pack during the sixth stage at the Vuelta a España between Vila-Real and Sagunt. Photo: Jaime Reina/Getty Images

Irish rider managed to finish in the main group as Tomasz Marczynski took stage six

Nicolas Roche of Ireland, wearing the polka-dot jersey, during the Vuelta 2017 cycling race. Photograph: EPA

Roche placed 37th and stays two seconds behind ongoing race leader Chris Froome

Nicolas Roche is currently third overall in the Vuelta a España. Photograph: Sebastien Nogier/EPA

Irish rider improves two places after seventh place finish on stage to Andorra la Vella

The Aqua Blue Sport riders in team time trial formation prior to Saturday’s start of the race. Photograph: Karen Edwards.

Cork businessman Rick Delaney and his team are not there to just make up the numbers

Sam Bennett was on the winner’s podium on Sunday. Photograph: Ciaran Fallon/Inpho

Carrick-on-Suir rider shrugs off lumpy course profile to win sprint into Doulany

Acqua Blue Sport’s Adam Blythe, Matthew Brammeier, Mark Christian, Conor Dunne, Andreew Fenn, Daniel Pearsons and Larry Warbasse. Photograph: KT/Tim  de Waele/Corbis via Getty Cycling

Conor Dunne or Matt Brammeier likly to be included in the Irish team’s line-up

Victor Campenaerts celebrates his gold medal win with silver winner Marciej Bodnar (left)  and bronze winner Ryan Mullen after the Mens elite single start at the 2017 Road European Championships in Herning, Denmark. Photograph: Henning Bagger/AFP/Getty

Irish rider pipped for gold medal in Elite tiem trial by just five seconds

Irish cyclist Daniel Martin on the20th stage of the  Tour de France. He is out of action for the next three weeks due to his injury. Photograph:  Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images

Irish cyclist battled on after sustaining injury on stage nine and managed to finish sixth

Dan Martin of Ireland and QuickStep Floors climbs the Col d’Izoard on stage eighteen of the 2017 Tour de France. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Irishman finished in a best ever sixth place, competing better than many had expected

 Christopher Froome, wearing the overall leader’s yellow jersey, rides past a lavander field 19th stage. Photograph: Getty Images

Martin finishes in the main bunch ahead of Saturday’s time trial

 Dan Martin of Ireland and QuickStep Floors climbs the Col d’Izoard on stage eighteen of the 2017 Tour de France. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Irish rider unable to make attacks stick as he tried to make his mark

Ireland’s Daniel Martin during the 104th edition of the Tour de France. Photograph: Getty Images

‘I can’t say the plan at the start of the day was to attack, I just seized the opportunity’

Australia’s Michael Matthews celebrates as he crosses the finish line at the end of the 14th stage of the  Tour de France  between Blagnac and Rodez. Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

Irish rider remains sixth as Chris Froome regains yellow jersey

Dan Martin of Ireland remains in sixth overall in Le Tour de France 2017. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Tour de France: His QuickStep Floors teammate Marcel Kittel is the winner of 10th stage

Daniel Martin of Quick-Step Floors during stage nine of the Tour de France. Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

Irish cyclist survives alarming crash on slippery descent but slips to sixth overall

 Daniel Martin of Ireland and team Quick-Step Floors in action during stage nine of Le Tour de France 2017, a 182km stage between Nantua and Chambery. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

‘I had nowhere to go. I was very, very lucky to come away as lightly as I did, I think’

 BMC Racing Team rider Nicolas Roche of Ireland in action during the eighth stage of the  of the Tour de France  between Dole and Station des Rousses. Photograph: Robert Ghement/EPA

Lilian Calmejane gets over cramp to secure home win on tough eighth stage

Quick Step Floors team rider Daniel Martin of Ireland in action during the 1st stage of the 104th edition of the Tour de France. Photo: Robert Ghement/EPA

Martin and Nicolas Roche finished in the main bunch in stage two on Sunday

Dan Martin: “I have never felt better going into the Tour de France.”

Three decades after uncle Stephen Roche won the Tour, Dan Martin is one of the dark horses

 Team Sky rider Chris Froome: “My hunger to win hasn’t got any less but the challenge is bigger this year because the level of my rivals is higher.” Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/Reuters

Three-time British champion Chis Froome views Richie Porte as the man to beat in this year’s race

Lydia Boylan: one of three signatories to the letter of protest addressed to Cycling Ireland about the halting of the women’s national road race.

Decision to halt top women’s road race to allow men’s race pass causes consternation

Ryan Mullen claimed  the elite road race title in Wexford on Sunday after winning gold in the time trial  on Thursday

Strong final lap from Lydia Boylan in women’s race yields her a third successive title

 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

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