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Irvine and McCann to lead RTS Racing Rás team

Posted 13 April 2012

(Irvine celebrates his 2011 stage win. Credit: Sportsfile/Lorraine O'Sullivan)

Less than a week after sealing his qualification for the Olympic Games by finishing seventh at the track world championships in Melbourne, Ireland’s Martyn Irvine has been confirmed as part of a strong Taiwan – RTS Racing team for the An Post Rás. 

The 26 year old will join up with another accomplished Irish rider, past Rás winner David McCann, who over a long career has been one of Ireland’s best international competitors. 

The team will be completed by the 28 year old Scottish climber Alex Coutts, who won the Tour of Thailand in 2008, plus the Taiwanese duo Chang Wei Yi and Huang Chin Lung. 

“Stage wins will be the first priority,” said multiple national champion McCann, who won the overall title in 2004 and who has taken a clutch of stage wins in the race. 

“I’m not sure if the team would be able to defend the jersey. But if it works out to be able to go for the overall, then why not?,” he added.

Irvine has focused largely on track racing in recent years, this dedication leading to his qualification for the London Olympics in the multi-event Omnium discipline, but has also clocked up important road results. He won stage seven in last year’s An Post Rás with a superb solo attack, and has also been national criterium champion for the past two years. 

“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. Alex [Coutts] is a good climber and could do well with the tough stages around Donegal,” McCann remarked.

 “He was fifteenth on the Genting Highlands stage in the 2011 Tour de Langkawi, which shows how strong he is. He played a big part in Martyn’s stage win in last year’s Rás,” he added.

All three will ride the upcoming Tour of Korea as part of their build up, with Irvine then heading to Mallorca to train and the other two riding the Jelajah Malaysia stage race.  

The two Taiwanese riders are expected to mainly play the role of domestique in the An Post Rás. 

Race director Dermot Dignam is looking forward to the Irish duo competing in the event. “Both David McCann and Martyn Irvine are very strong riders and have performed well in the An Post Rás in the past. I expect that they will be amongst the top Irish competitors this year, and will be in the thick of the action during the eight days of the race,” said Dignam.

Also confirmed today for this year’s event is the France AVC Aix en Provence team. While the lineup is yet to be finalized, Thomas Rostollan is likely to be the leader of the squad. The 26 year old has performed strongly in the past, netting second in the 2.2-ranked Circuit des Ardennes in 2010 and first overall in the Tour de la Manche last year. 

Antoine Lavieu, Jelle Lugten, Thomas Miquel and Remi Sarreboubee are provisionally listed as the other riders who will take part. 

The 2012 An Post Rás will be the sixtieth edition of the country’s toughest cycling race. It will begin on Sunday May 20th with a stage from Dunboyne to Kilkenny, and will continue with finishes in Gort, Westport, Bundoran, Buncrana, Killybegs, Cootehill and Skerries.

It will total almost 1200 kilometres and will feature strong international professional and national teams from Europe and further afield, guaranteeing an exciting contest. 

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