Future Olympian Irvine and McCann targeting stages in An Post Rás
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Friday, April 13, 2012

Future Olympian Irvine and McCann targeting stages in An Post Rás

by Shane Stokes at 5:42 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Irish duo to lead RTS Racing Team in 2.2 event

David McCannFormer race winner David McCann has said that he will primarily be targeting stage wins in this year’s An Post Rás, with a successful showing in the race an aim for him in what is his final season competing internationally.

The RTS Racing Team rider (pictured) won the race in 2004 and has taken several stage wins during his career. He and fellow Irishman Martyn Irvine will lead the team in this year’s Rás, which will be disputed by a number of international squads and will once again be ranked 2.2 on the UCI’s calendar.

“Stage wins will be the first priority,” said multiple national champion McCann. “I’m not sure if the team would be able to defend the jersey as normally you’d need five very strong riders to be able to protect it. But if it works out to be able to go for the overall, then why not?”

McCann and Irvine will be joined by the Scot Alex Coutts, a rider McCann describes as being stronger than his results suggest, plus two Taiwanese riders who will essentially play the role of domestique. They are Chang Wei Yi and Huang Chin Lung.

“It’s hard to say right now what Martyn is capable of this year, but we will both go into the race aiming for stages,” he said. “Alex is a good climber and could do well with the tough stages around Donegal,” stated McCann. “He was fifteenth on the Genting Highlands stage in the 2011 Tour de Langkawi, which shows how strong he is. He also played a big part in Martyn’s stage win in last year’s Rás.”

McCann, Irvine and Coutts will do the upcoming Tour of Korea as part of their buildup. Irvine will then fly to Mallorca to train there, mixing road and track, while the other two will compete in the Jelajah Malaysia stage race.

Irvine took a superb stage victory in last year’s race. The 26 year old has been mainly focused on track since then, competing strongly in Omnium events at the track World Cup and finishing seventh in the same discipline in last week’s world track championships in Melbourne.

That performance sealed his place in London 2012, his first Olympics. His plan is to get some road racing in to build his endurance base, then to sharpen up as the Games approach.

Ireland has currently four places assured in the Olympics; three places in the road events, and Irvine’s track slot. Caroline Ryan, who finished third in the points race at the worlds, doesn’t have sufficient time to secure track qualification but will instead try to attain the necessary points to qualify for the road events.

The 2012 An Post Rás will begin on Sunday May 20th with a stage from Dunboyne to Kilkenny, and will continue with stage finishes in Gort, Westport, Bundoran, Buncrana, Killybegs, Cootehill and Skerries.

The French AVC Aix en Provence team has also been confirmed this week, joining previously announced squads such as the New Zealand national team, AC Sparta Praha, the German Bike Aid setup and the Dutch Koga cycling team.

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