An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly team taking on big guns in Volta ao Algarve
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Thursday, February 14, 2013

An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly team taking on big guns in Volta ao Algarve

by VeloNation Press at 8:37 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Volta ao Algarve
 
Characteristic aggressive approach to be continued in Portugal

Sean DowneyIt remains a Continental squad again this year but the An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly team hopes to punch above its weight over the next four days in the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal.

The Irish sponsored, Belgian based team is going up against nine WorldTour teams, namely Omega Pharma Quick Step, Sky, Katusha, Movistar, Blanco Pro Cycling, RadioShack Leopard, Euskaltel Euskadi, Team Saxo Tinkoff and Vacansoleil DCM, and will approach the event determined to earn its invitation.

“It’s always a tough race,” said general manager Kurt Bogaerts. “You just need to look at the registered teams each year to see how strong the field is, and this year is no different. It’s a great opportunity for our riders to compete against the likes of team Sky and Omega Pharma – Quick Step. The experience they will take from it is invaluable.

“The course is hard and hilly in stages but we will be aggressive from the start and hopefully be involved in some of the breakaways. Its great preparation for the season ahead so we are really looking forward to it.”

Young Irish rider Sean Downey was aggressive today but missed out on a five man break which slipped clear early on. He tried to bridge across alone but was unable to do so. He and the others on the team are likely to try again in the two remaining road stages, as well as going all out in the concluding time trial on Sunday.

The 199 kilometre stage from Faro to Albufeira is still ongoing; a report will appear on VeloNation later.

Downey (pictured) is joined in the race by compatriot Ronan McLaughlin, the Britons Kieran Frend and Mark McNally, plus the Belgians Alphonse Vermote, Nicholas Vereecken, Steven Van Vooren and Laurent Vanden Bak.

The team has a medium term goal of becoming a Pro Continental squad, but earns invitations to big races on the back of Sean Kelly’s association with the squad plus its reputation for aggressive riding plus some past victories against bigger teams.

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