An Post announced today it would stop sponsoring the eponymous Chain Reaction Continental team, the long-standing men's Rás stage race in Ireland and the women's Rás na mBan, stepping back completely from all of its cycling partnerships.
"An Post has been the leading supporter of cycling in Ireland for a decade, providing long-term, committed sponsorship to Irish Cycling at all levels," An Post's Aileen Mooney said. "We are very proud of what has been achieved by all involved and also by our staff through their involvement and support.
"The conclusion of these sponsorships comes at a time when An Post is facing significant financial challenges. As we set about implementing a new strategy for An Post, we must focus our resources on reshaping and restructuring our business, and on new product development."
Mooney said they made the announcement now in order to give the team and event organisers time to find new sponsorship, but will still be involved in this years' events, as planned.
"An Post is very much looking forward to our involvement in this year's events and would like to wish all those involved in Irish Cycling every continued success into the future."
Sean Kelly, who has been involved with the An Post Chain Reaction cycling team since 2008, as sad to see the partnership come to a close.
"An Post have been a fantastic sponsor of Irish Cycling over the last 10 years having supported the sport at all levels," Kelly said. "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."
Sean Kelly with the Irish riders on An Post Chain Reaction
Ronde de l'Isard stage canceled after crashes
The opening stage of the Ronde de l'Isard from Samatan to Boulogne-sur-Gesse was stopped due to multiples crashes in the first 60 kilometers.
The planned 162km route was beset by heavy rain, and there were two crashes involving multiple riders. Because the medical staff were all occupied, officials first stopped and then canceled the stage.
"Tonight our thoughts are with the riders caught in the crashes, and we wish them our best for recovery," the race organisers announced on social media.
Sunweb parts with development rider
Team Sunweb announced today it has parted ways with development rider Clément Betouigt-Suire. The 19-year-old was in his first season with the U23 squad.
"It hasn't been an easy period for me and we made this decision together after multiple talks and support from the team," Betouigt-Suire said. "It has been a challenging opening half to the season with some bad luck. I had a heavy crash last year at the juniors Course de la Paix and I did everything to come back quickly to be able to fight for the World Champion title. At the beginning of the 2017 season I had another crash at Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux where an old injury to my collarbone returned and this time I need to listen to my body.
"In consultation with the medical staff at the team it has been decided that I will have a rest and undergo surgery. It's a shame to leave such a professional environment, but for now it's definitely the best decision. I am grateful for the team's understanding of my feelings and situation and hope that one day our paths will cross again."
Cyclingnews Podcast - Will Dumoulin keep the climbers at bay?
After 12 stages of the 2017 Giro d'Italia, Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin holds a healthy lead over 2014 Giro winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar). With several key climbing stages in the coming days, Quintana will need to claw back the time he lost in the time trial to Dumoulin if he is to win the overall. In the latest edition of the Cyclingnews podcast, Dane Cash and Daniel Benson analyse the action thus far and look ahead to the racing to come, proving several possible outcomes for the GC.
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