An Post Rás videos: Bogaerts lining up his riders, Craven surprised by form
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

An Post Rás videos: Bogaerts lining up his riders, Craven surprised by form

by Shane Stokes at 4:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Video
Team manager and mountains leader give their thoughts

Kurt BogaertsWith his chief sponsor also backing the race, An Post Grant Thornton Sean Kelly team manager Kurt Bogaerts is feeling a little extra pressure and motivation this week in trying to ensure that one of his riders takes the 2.2-ranked An Post Rás in Ireland.

The squad has won twice in the past, with Stephen Gallagher triumphing in 2008 and Gediminas Bagdonas proving best last time round.

Bagdonas is back this year and lines out alongside the Irish quartet of Sam Bennett, Sean Downey, Ronan McLaughlin and Connor McConvey. He had been due to compete with the Geox TMC team this year but the squad folded, leaving him without a contract and prompting his return to the Belgian-based Continental outfit. The Lithuanian has been riding very well this season and is clearly in good form; Bogaerts knows he is seen as one of the big favourites, but doesn’t want to pin all his hopes on him alone.

“We cannot deny that Bagdonas is very, very strong and is in a really good condition, but it would make it too easy for other teams if we just ride for only one guy,” he told VeloNation in a video interview conducted at the finish of yesterday’s second stage. “Of course he is at a really big level, all the guys on the team know that, but that can be a really big advantage for the other guys on the team.”

Bagdonas won two bonus sprints on day one and ended the stage in fourth overall. He missed yesterday’s break, conceding 28 seconds, but that was fine by Bogaerts; McConvey was in the move, and his gaining time ensured that the team has an additional option for the overall.

The race is notoriously unpredictable and Bogaerts knows that the best possible strategy is to manoeuvre several of his riders into strong positions, then use that to put pressure on other teams later this week.

Swiss rider Pirmin Lang (Atlas Jakroo) won yesterday into Gort and leads the race. McConvey is fifth overall on the same time, while Bagdonas is 22 seconds back in eleventh.

He finished ninth yesterday, crossing the line second in the bunch kick and just behind team-mate Bennett. Bogaerts speaks about the team strategy below, his riders’ condition and also who he sees as danger men in the race.

Meanwhile two years after wearing the yellow jersey, IG Sigma Sport rider Dan Craven speaks about taking the King of the Mountains jersey on yesterday’s stage. He surprised himself, saying that he appears to be going better than he himself expected.


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