Sean Kelly pushes harder for 2008

Come on you boys in green:

Come on you boys in green: (Image credit: Stephen McMahon)

No passengers on Irish great’s team

By Gerard Cromwell

There will be no room for dreamers and riders content to just warm a saddle on the An Post / M. Donnelly / Grant Thornton / Sean Kelly Cycling Team this year, team mentor Sean Kelly said at the team’s launch at the GPO Dublin Tuesday.

The Irish-registered team, now in its third year, has more of an international flavour in 2008. There are six Irish riders in the squad - two of them first-year pros - four Belgians, two British and one each from Sweden and Germany.

Kelly is positive about the team’s future. Ireland’s greatest ever road cyclist, with a record that includes Tour de France green jerseys and seven consecutive wins in Paris-Nice, believes the new signings will strengthen the squad and spur on the Irish riders. That’s despite a general feeling that Ireland’s booming economy of recent years has made Irish domestic riders ‘soft’.

"I was fierce hungry," laughed Kelly as he was asked the difference between his generation and today's young stars. "I came from a farming background. I had to get up early in the cold and wet and go out and milk cows.

"When I was in a line-out in the gutter in a race in Belgium or somewhere like that in the early days, I just had to think about going back to the farm and i found myself hanging on that little bit longer.

"Nowadays of course, it's much easier. Lifestyles have changed, and that's only natural.

Read more on the Sean Kelly Cycling Team launch here.

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