It has been a staple for New Zealand riders for years, but An Post Ras and the An Post Chain Reaction Cycling Team are facing new challenges, as it was announced yesterday that An Post will be withdrawing its sponsorship for the portfolio of cycling entities it supports.
An Post Ras is set to kick off on Sunday evening, but will no longer have the backing of An Post following the 2017 edition of the race. With An Post facing ‘significant financial challenges’ the decision was taken to withdraw sponsorship from An Post Ras – the eight-day stage race – the An Post Chain Reaction Cycling Team and An Post Ras na mBan.
An Post Chain Reaction is currently the team of Regan Gough. Gough will be lining up for the team at An Post Ras this year, alongside Matthew Teggart, Sean McKenna, Damien Shaw and Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz. We’ve seen Gough racing in An Post colours already in 2017 at the New Zealand National Road Championships in Napier where he took gold in both the U23 men’s time trial and road race. Since then his time focussed on the track has yielded a silver medal in the men’s team pursuit at the UCI World Track Championships. His first UCI race abroad came in the Grad Prix Criquielion earlier this week.
In a statement Sean Kelly said, “An Post have been a fantastic sponsor of Irish Cycling over the last 10 years having supported the sport at all levels. We have greatly enjoyed our partnership with them which has allowed us to provide a platform for the on-going development of professional riders including talented Irish cyclists such as Sam Bennett who has gone on to compete at World Tour level and twice at the Tour de France.”
While Regan Gough is currently on the roster, the An Post Chain Reaction team has also been a popular launch pad into the World Tour level for Shane Archbold who currently rides for the Bora-Hansgrohe team of Peter Sagan and Rafal Majka.
The announcement of An Post withdrawing its sponsorship has been made to allow team and race organisers the chance to search out new sponsors for the ventures that are steeped in rich history.
This year’s An Post Ras will see Regan Gough line up for An Post Chain Reaction and Taylor Gunman take to the start line for Madison Genesis.