With less than two months to go to the start of An Post Rás, the organisers have announced the first two international teams for this year’s race. Netherlands’ Candidacy Team Delta and Denmark’s Riwal Platform Cycling team have both confirmed they will travel to compete in Ireland’s only UCI ranked cycling race, beginning Sunday, May 21st.
Both teams have an impressive record in An Post Rás, clocking up four of the eight stages last year, and will aim to equal or exceed that this time around.
The Netherlands Candidacy Team Delta will consist of riders Daan Meijers, Ike Groen, Jan-Willem van Schip, Mitchell Mulhern and Dennis Baker.
“Our goal will be first and foremost to win stages like last year,” stated general manager Jim Van der Berg. “However this year we will also aim to have someone on the GC (General Classification) podium.”
The Dutch team previously competed under the Cyclingteam Join’s – De Rijke title and had a successful showing in the 2016 An Post Rás. The team won two stages, taking success on the opening day with Taco van der Hoorn and again on day five with Wouter Mol. Van der Hoorn also went on to finish eighth overall on GC.
Their confirmed line-up for this year’s race is an impressive one. Meijers won the 1.2 ranked Kernen Omloop Echt-Susteren last season and will be the road captain. Groen, who competed in the race last year, is a climber who won a stage and placed second overall in the 2.2 ranked Tour of Mersin.
Van Schip and Mulhern are both track specialists; the former raced to an impressive victory this month in the 1.1 ranked Ronde van Drenthe, while Mulhern is a bronze medallist in the team pursuit with the Australian squad from the 2015 World Track Championships. The fifth member of the squad, Baker, is a specialist on punchy climbs and triumphed in the prologue of the 2016 Tour of Slovakia.
After securing two stage victories in last year’s race, Danish outfit, Riwal Platform Cycling team, will be looking to better that this time around. Nicolai Brøchner, who won stages four and eight last year, will be joined by Rasmus Mygind, who took third on the opening day, and Grand Prix d’Isbergues victor, Jonas Aaen Jørgensen. Also in the squad is last year’s Profonde van Noord Holland victor, Mathias Dam Westergaard and Stefan Djurhuus.
“Our main goals will be stage victories by Nicolai Brøchner,” said team manager Mogens Kristensen. “For the general classification we hope for good performances by Rasmus Mygind and Jonas Aaen Jørgensen, with hopefully one of them in the top ten.”
Both teams will have a strong international build-up to the race, ensuring the riders are in optimal condition for the gruelling eight day challenge. An Post Rás organiser is delighted to once again welcome both squads:“We are looking forward to another strong showing from both teams. Between them they took over half of the stage wins last year, which underlines their quality. We are pleased to confirm they will return, and will announce many other strong teams over the coming weeks.”
Candidacy Team Delta (NED)
Daan Meijers (NED)
Ike Groen (NED)
Jan-Willem van Schip (NED)
Mitchell Mulhern (AUS)
Dennis Baker (USA)
Riwal Platform (DEN)
Jonas Aaen Jørgensen
Mathias Dam Westergaard
An Post Rás 2017 (Total: 1199.8 kilometres):
Stage 1, Sunday May 21: Dublin to Longford (146.1 kilometres)
Stage 2, Monday May 22: Longford to Newport (142.9 kilometres)
Stage 3, Tuesday May 23: Newport to Bundoran (149 kilometres)
Stage 4, Wednesday May 24: Bundoran to Buncrana (151.8 kilometres)
Stage 5, Thursday May 25: Buncrana to Dungloe (181.2 kilometres)
Stage 6, Friday May 26: Dungloe to Donegal (132.1 kilometres)
Stage 7, Saturday May 27: Donegal to Ardee (167.3 kilometres)
Stage 8, Sunday May 28: Ardee to Skerries (129.4 kilometres)