Irish head start into new season

By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent

The profile of Irish cycling has been lifted this week by the exploits of David O’Loughlin and Ciaran Power of the American based Navigators Insurance team. They are presently in Australia competing in the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, where O’Loughlin has found himself doing exceptionally well. The new kid on the block with this particular outfit is going in search of the King of the Mountains jersey.

Gearing themselves up for the Telekom Malaysia Le Tour de Langkawi are two of the seven-man squad who will compete in the race when it starts next Friday in Langkawi. David McCann and Paul Griffin are with the Giant Asia squad in the Tour of Siam in Thailand. Both are figuring well, which further adds spice to what they'll possibly achieve in Malaysia. Both McCann and Griffin proved their mettle last year in Malaysia and hopefully a repeat is on the cards. Also Griffin will be hoping for better luck as he suffered mechanical trouble on one of the stages, when he was up with the leaders as they scaled the heights before reaching the summit of Cameron Highlands.

Eugene Moriarty from Listowel, who got six top 15 placings last year against the world's elite, has missed the cut will have to watch from afar. The Irish lads, who lost their Hibernian Insurance sponsorship, will do battle over 10 days of racing, with the inclusion of the jewel in the 'crown', the ascension up to Genting over 6,000 feet above sea level, where many a cyclist's dream was shattered.

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