David O?Loughlin and Matt Brammeier have this week been unveiled as the new signings for an expanded 2009 An Post-Sean Kelly squad.
Irish rider O’Loughlin most recently scooped a bronze in the individual pursuit at the UCI track World Cup round in Beijing, China.
Englishman Brammeier is the current under-23 British time trial champion, and now officially joins the team from Profel, as we reported in November.
Brammeier suffered horrendous injuries at the end of the 2007 season when he was struck by a cement lorry when out on a training run, which resulted in him breaking both legs.
Classics specialist and former Belgian champion Niko Eeckhout has also joined the squad, which now features five Belgian riders.
The team has been on a training camp in Calpe, Spain, in preparation for their first competitive outing in 2009 at the GP Marseillaise, France (February 1). They will then field a team at the Etoile Bresseges a few days later (February 4-8).
Last year, An Post-Sean Kelly’s Stephen Gallagher won Ireland’s most prominent stage race, the FBD Insurance Ras, in May.
“We are finalising our racing calendar for the year but it looks like the team will be back in Ireland for the first time on May 17 for the Ras,” said team owner and manager Sean Kelly.
“We’re already looking forward to it as it’s always great to return home and showcase our success as a continental team. In 2008, Stephen Gallagher was the first Irish winner in four years and he will be back to defend his title this year.”
The squad was set up by former professional Kelly, whose extensive list of wins include stages of the Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana and a host of Classics, including Paris-Roubaix, Milan-San Remo and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
The full 2009 An Post-Sean Kelly squad comprises: Paidi O’Brien (Irl), Mark Cassidy (Irl), Stephen Gallagher (Irl), Ronan McLaughlin (Irl), David O?Loughlin (Irl), Benny De Schrooder (Bel), Kenny Lisabeth (Bel), Steven Van Vooren (Bel), Jef Peeters (Bel), Niko Eeckhout (Bel), Matt Brammeier (GB).
An Post-Sean Kelly team website: www.seankellycyclingacademy.com