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Sean Kelly fights to save An Post-Chain Reaction after sponsor dropout

An Post will step down from primary sponsorship leaving Sean Kelly searching for new funds

Joe Robinson
27 Sep 2017

The near-demise of Cannondale-Drapac this summer showed how hard it is to exist in professional cycling. Second place at the Tour de France cannot guarantee your safety as a team. 

Neither can the name of one of cycling's most treasured sons. Sean Kelly's An-Post Chain Reaction find themselves in the familiar fight of cycling teams, battling for new sponsors in order for the team to continue.

After nine years of being primary sponsor of the team, Irish national post service An Post will succumb to financial restraints and no longer fund the team. 

This comes as part of a bigger sweep within the company that will also take away its funding from Ireland's biggest stage race, the Rás.

The work of Kelly and sports director/general manager Kurt Bogaerts over the previous decade has seen some of Ireland's top talent break through to the WorldTour.

Sam Bennett (Bora-Hangrohe) and Ryan Mullen (Cannondale-Drapac) both found themselves nurtured through this home set-up.

Yet, if the team are unable to find a replacement sponsor it could be curtains for Kelly's Irish project. This has led to the former multiple Paris-Roubaix winner to look further afield for funding. 

'I thought I would have signed someone by now but it's proving more difficult than expected to be,' Kelly said.

'I'm in negotiations with two sponsors so I am hoping one of them will take it on,' adding, 'I'd like to keep them Irish companies but there's interest from Europe because we race in these countries, France, Belgium etc.'

If the team was trying to put itself in the shop window, it was certainly successful at the recent Tour of Britain.

With riders in almost all breakaways throughout the week, the young An-Post team were noticeable in the seven road stages.

Jacob Scott was also close to securing the King of the Mountains jersey for the team until the last day. 

This animated week should work in their favour when it comes to attracting a new sponsor and Kelly hopes that this will not be the last big race for the team. 

'We raced really well at the Tour of Britain getting in most breaks. It was especially hard as the race was usually controlled for the big sprinters,' Kelly remarked.

'I hope that we can continue giving this experience to young riders and providing them with good racing.'

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