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Irish riders Ronan McLaughlin and Sean Downey will line out for the An Post Sean Kelly team at the Ronde de l’Oise (2.2) four day race tomorrow in France.
McLaughlin and Downey are part of a six man team which includes Belgian riders Niko Eeckhout and Pieter Ghyllebert, Lithuanian rider Gediminas Bagdonas and Britain’s, Mark McNally.
The An Post team come into the race in good form following some excellent performances in the Rás. Former champion Bagdonas won two stages of the gruelling eight-day event and also claimed the overall sprints classification jersey, while McLaughlin was desperately unlucky to miss out on a remarkable stage win in Bundoran being caught metres from the finish line following a superb solo performance. Dromore native Downey was instrumental in both Bagdonas’ stage wins putting in a tireless effort out in front for much of the final stage into Skerries.
Team manager Kurt Bogaerts is happy with his team’s form going into the race and admits there were many positives to take from the team’s performance in the Rás.
“The Rás is such a tough race. It’s very hard to predict what will happen and even harder to control so I am very happy with how the riders performed. There were some things we could have done better but overall there was a lot we can take from it.
“This is another hard race, the course is very hilly and it will make for very fast racing. We will be hoping for a stage win and we will use this to build up our preparations ahead of the national championships”, Bogaerts added