Irish Continental team An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly have announced the signings of Calvin Watson from Trek Factory Racing, Cannondale-Garmin stagiaire Jasper Bovenhuis and Belgian Emiel Wastyn for the 2016 season. The team also confirmed online bicycle store Chain Reaction has committed to a further two-years of sponsorship along with Vitus Bikes.
"Its great that we'e renewing our partnership with both Chain Reaction Cycles and Vitus Bikes – it's been a fantastic journey so far and this continuation is good for the team," said general manager Sean Kelly.
Watson joins the team after two season in the WorldTour with Trek having made his grand tour debut at the Giro d'Italia in May. The 22-year-old won the 2013 Jayco Herald Sun Tour and will add a GC option to the squad for next season. Bovenhuis had several top-ten results with SEG Racing and won the Arno Wallaard Memorial to earn a ride with Cannondale-Garmin at three North American stage races and two Italian one-day classics to close out the season and brings further experience to the squad.
The team have made 11 signings in total for the upcoming season and sport director Kurt Bogaerts believes with a mix of experience and youth An Post can reach another level in 2016 having also retained key riders Jack Wilson, Aaron Gate and 19-year-old Jordon Stannus.
"I think the squad we've assembled is exciting and full of promise," Bogaerts said. "The new signings will certainly energise the team and I'm really looking forward to working with them. They are a talented bunch who have achieved some brilliant results in their own right. It's also very important to us to retain the skills and experience of Jack, Aaron and Jordan and to have Conor [McConvey] come back in the mix is a real bonus. I think this season coming will be a big year for those riders.
"Our team is a proving ground for some of the best riders to step up and advance with their careers, which shows how good a job we’re doing. From an Irish cycling point of view we’ve got great hopes for Jack Wilson in 2016, and we're working with him to get him to where we know he can be. Jack’s improving with age and will hopefully make the step next year," he added.
22-year-old Wilson explained after a disappointing season he is looking forward to repaying the team for extending his contract.
"I'm delighted to stay with An Post. It's been a tough year with a few unfortunate injuries and I haven't shown the consistency that I've wanted but I'm really happy Kurt (Bogaerts) has kept faith in me and I'm really looking forward to proving my worth to the team," Wilson said. "I still feel I have more to learn but I feel energised and excited about the coming season. I can't wait to get going now," Wilson said.
The took 14 wins in 2015 with Aidis Kruopis and Josh Edmondson the most successful of the teams' riders although the former WorldTour riders are both moving onto Verandas Willems Cycling Team and NFTO respectively for 2016.
The other signings for the 2016 season include David Montgomery, Daniel Stewart, Oliver Kent-Spark, Nicolas Vereecken, Sean Bennet and Jacob Scott, with three more signings to be announced.