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Irish riders searching for results at Belgian classics

Posted 25 February 2012

All five Irish riders on the An Post Sean Kelly team will get the Belgian classics season underway this weekend with the objective of helping the team to achieve top ten finishes in the two races in which it will compete.

Sam Bennett, Mark Cassidy, Sean Downey and Connor McConvey are all part of the seven man team that will compete in the Beverbeek Classic (1.2) on Saturday.

McConvey remains a slight doubt for the race after suffering from flu all week, but the team is hopeful that he will take his place on the starting line. Mark McNally remains on standby.

Donegal native Ronan McLaughlin will line out as the only Irish rider among the strong eight man team in Sunday's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne (1.1). The one day race is the first Belgian classic of the year and will host a number of the world’s top riders including world champion and Mark Cavendish and Tour of Qatar winner Tom Boonen.

Team manager Kurt Bogaerts is optimistic about the weekend’s races ahead.

“We had a second placing in last year’s Beverbeek Classic, so the aim is to go one better, but it will not be easy,” he said.

“The Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne is always a very unpredictable race. The guys, particularly Niko (Eeckhout), are looking forward to it as it’s the first Belgian classic of the season,” he added.

“We have prepared well and aim to be competitive and aggressive throughout. Our objective is a top ten finish so we’ll see how it goes.” said Bogaerts.

An Post Sean Kelly Team for Beverbeek Classic (1.2) 25th February

Mark Cassidy (IRL)
Sam Bennett (IRL)
Sean Downey (IRL)
Connor McConvey (IRL)
Roy Jans (BEL)
Kenneth Van Bilsen (BEL)
Joren Segers (UK)

An Post Sean Kelly Team for Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne (1.1) 26th February

Gediminas Bagdonas (LTU)
Niko Eeckhout (BEL)
Mark Christian (GB)
Mark McNally (GB)
Ronan McLaughlin (IRL)
Niels Wytinck (BEL)
Stijn Ennekens (BEL)
Pieter Ghyllebert (BEL)

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