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There was no hoisting of a pint of Guinness on St Patrick's Day for team pursuit world track champion and 2012 Olympic silver medallist Glenn O'Shea today. The Australia-born 24-year-old may have Irish roots, but O'Shea is too busy training in Adelaide and preparing for his trip to Europe in April to rejoin his Belgium-based Irish Continental cycling team An Post Chain Reaction to celebrate.
O'Shea, who won gold in the men's team pursuit with Luke Davison (23), Alex Edmondson (20), Mitchell Mulhern (23) and Miles Scotson (20) at the Track Worlds in Colombia last month, is not the only Australian lucky enough to find employment as a professional cyclist abroad, as he is joined by fellow countryman Robert-Jon McCarthy (19), as well as New Zealand's Shane Archbold (25) and former omnium world champion and 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Aaron Gate (23).
"I have never been to Ireland," said O'Shea, who joined An Post Chain Reaction in 2013 following a brief stint with Garmin-Sharp at the World Port Classic and the Tour of Britain. "Last year when there were races in Ireland I was always away at races like the Tour of Belgium. This year, I will put my hands up and hopefully do a couple of races and have a look around."
O'Shea told Cyclingnews that both he and Gate are fortunate to have An Post Chain Reaction on board with their ongoing track commitments that will see both of them race in Glasgow at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in July, and hopefully in Rio for a return to the Olympic Games in 2016.
"An Post Chain Reaction were fantastic last year and this year with giving us the freedom of the track," said O'Shea, who will ride for the team until leaving for a training block in June to prep for Glasgow. "Aaron and I are pretty lucky in that regard that the team fully supports what we are doing on the track and this is very good for us and we are happy to represent them on the road as well."
Gate, who is fresh off collecting a pair of bronze and a silver medals at the New Zealand track national championships last week in Cambridge, will also be joining O'Shea in Belgium.
"I leave in two weeks to get some panic road K's in so I have some form for the races starting there in April," said Gate, who also joined the team in 2013. "The road is something I am trying to continue developing and An Post is a great team for that.
"I raced for them last year too, and it's a cool team to be a part of as it's continuing to grow and has a great racing program," he added. "The sponsors put awesome support behind us to allow us to reach our goals on the track. We are lucky indeed."
For team manager and cycling legend Sean Kelly, the Australians and Kiwis are welcome additions to the team he started seven years ago to encourage cycling in Ireland and provide a pathway for Irish cyclists to enter the professional peloton.
"We have a great relationship with the cycling federations in both countries," Kelly, a winner of the Vuelta a España, Paris-Roubaix and seven straight Paris-Nice's told Cyclingnews. "It is good for us to have the Aussies and the Kiwis with the talent of O'Shea and Gate – especially since O'Shea is half Irish so we claim him as our own.
"But it is also good for them as we have proven that we can deliver cyclists to the ProTour and we expect that many of them are not far away from a pro contract right now."