The An Post Sean Kelly team have announced that Irish riders Sam Bennett, Ronan McLaughlin and Sean Downey will sign up again with the team for the 2013 season.
Bennett, who is currently recovering from a knee operation, had a successful 2012 campaign putting in some fine performances, most notably at the Tour of Britain, where he bagged three top ten finishes. The Waterford native was selected as part of the U23 Team Ireland at the World Championships and also impressed at the European Championships and the GP Zottegem earlier in the season.
Donegal man Ronan McLaughlin has shown great progression since he joined the team back in 2008, now a key influencer behind many of the team’s successes. At this year’s Rás he went within 100 metres of a heroic stage win in his home county, earning him huge praise for his distinguished attacking style.
He finished the season in magnificent fashion, putting in a string of impressive performances against the big teams at the Tour of Britain. His exceptional form earned him a place in the Team Ireland squad at the World Championships alongside Nicolas Roche and Daniel Martin.
For twenty one year-old Sean Downey the 2012 season was always going to be primarily a learning process and making the tough transition to the Belgian racing circuit. The young man from Dromore played key roles in the An Post team’s stage win at this year’s Rás and was called up as part of the U23 Ireland Team at the World Championships. Downey also made an impressive showing in the time trial event at the European Championships in the Netherlands.
Team manager Kurt Bogaerts is delighted to have secured the trio’s services for another season.
“It’s fantastic that Ronan, Sam and Sean have committed to the team for another year. Sam had some excellent results last season and is back on the bike now following his surgery, so he will be ready for next season which I’m sure will see him progress even further.
Ronan was superb all year. He was a thorn in the side of the big teams at the Tour of Britain and he proved he can compete with the best so next year will be a very important season for him.
For Sean, it always takes a year or so to settle in and make the transition but I think he has done that really well and with a good winter’s training behind him he can certainly start picking up some results”.
The An Post Sean Kelly team will begin a week’s training camp in Calpe from the 1st December.