With the weeks counting down towards its first pre-season training camp in Calpe, Spain, the An Post Chain Reaction squad has finalised its line-up for 2017. Four Irish riders will be part of the squad, including 2015 Irish champion Damien Shaw.
Shaw was confirmed for the team this week, remaining on board after a season where he started with confidence yet didn’t perform as he wished. Fifth in both the An Post Rás and the Irish championships were the highlights but, internationally, he didn’t shine.
Shaw has built up important experience, however, and has another chance in 2017.
“I had a great time last year stepping up to the professional level. It was a huge opportunity for me to test myself away from Ireland and see where I was on the continental stage,” he said on Thursday.
“I learned so much and I’m really excited for round two with the An Post Chain Reaction Team to put those learnings into action.”
Other Irish riders with the squad for 2017 are Seán McKenna, who was also part of the 2016 line-up, plus newcomers Conor Hennebry and Matthew Teggart.
They will slot in alongside 11 overseas riders, including double track world champion Regan Gough of New Zealand.
Team manager Kurt Bogaerts said that the composition of the squad is designed to try to step up on the 2016 results.
“At the end of last season we looked at what we wanted to work on, and have brought in riders who we believe can help address certain weaknesses we identified,” he stated.
“Cycling is about working together and learning from each other. We have carefully selected all of our riders for 2017 based on their talent, as well as the energy they bring to the squad.
“It will be an exciting year – and I think people can expect some exciting results from us.”
In other news, Greg Swinand smashed the Irish hour record earlier this week in the US. The 49-year-old rider had spent time at altitude to prepare for the 60-minute effort in the USA Olympic velodrome in Colorado Springs, and that plus the thinner air helped him to beat a 17-year-old record.
In 1999 Tommy Evans recorded 46.166 kilometres. Swinand went almost 800 metres further, raising the bar to 46.895 kilometres.
He also improved on the Irish masters' record of 45.799 kilometres, as set by John Madden last year.