Former professional Thomas Löfkvist will manage 2010 An Post Rás winner, Alex Wetterhall and four other riders in May’s edition of the race, aiming to deliver a second race victory to 28 year old Wetterhall.
The Tre Berg – Bianchi squad is one of two teams announced today, taking part in the race, which begins in Dunboyne, Co. Meath on May 17th. The Swedish Continental-level squad will be joined by the Australian club team Subaru Albion, which also has ambitious goals for the event.
While the line up is yet to be finalised, Löfkvist said: “We come to race for an overall victory and to hunt for stages. Alexander Wetterhall will be our leader.”
Wetterhall is likely to be joined by two-time Swedish criterium champion Sebastian Balck and Lucas Eriksson, who in turn placed sixth and seventh at the Junior World Championships in 2013 and 2014.
The other two places on the team may go to 2013 Memorial Pigoni Coli runner-up Kim Magnusson and Niklas Gustavsson, who was third in the 2012 London Nocturne.
Löfkvist will use his considerable racing experience to guide the squad through the 2015 edition. He rode the Rás himself in 2003, forging a successful professional career with top teams including Team High Road and Team Sky. His results include overall victory in the 2013 Tour of the Mediterranean with Team IAM Cycling.
Already familiar with Irish roads, the Australian Subaru Albion team arrive in Ireland in mid-April and will compete in the Tour of Ulster and the Shay Elliott Memorial as a build up to starting An Post Rás on May 17th.
“As this is our third year riding the Rás, we will definitely be looking for a stage win,” said David Early, who will be working with the team. “I know that one of the guys has earmarked the first stage as a possibility and Anthony Murray is looking to improve on last year’s result. He is targeting a top ten overall in the GC (general classification).”
Murray finished 23rd overall last year and was also 7th overall in the Rás Mumhan.
The team will be led by the 2013 Sydney road champion Keegan Aitchison, who has ridden the race twice before.
2013 New Zealand Under-23 Road Champion, Richard Lawson is chasing a stage win in his Rás debut, while Dave Logue Classic winner, Daniel Molyneaux and Morgan Smith are also likely to be part of the line up.
Early says Smith has only been cycling for three years and describes him as ‘somewhat of a wild child,’ but points out that he finished sixth overall in this year’s Tour of New Zealand.
“You never really know which Morgan will turn up. He could do a Gary Thompson,” he said, referring to the former Irish Olympian and Rás runner-up, “and either tear your legs off, or lose twenty minutes and throw his bike into the ditch.”
The two teams will join the recently-announced Hrinkow Advarics CYcleanG squad in the race. That team will be led by last year’s race winner Clemens Fankhauser.