An Post Ras- Stage 8. A top ten and top teamwork to end the week

Thats it, the An Post Ras is officially over and the week flew by. The race was filled with ups and downs for the team, but we finished it off in a great way with an 8th place finish on the final day of tough racing.

Once again it was Marc Potts who was in almost every move at the front of the race. With the GC so tight going into the last day, the teams were not keen to let much up the road, so a small move with riders who were not a threat to GC got up the road and that was it.

The team plan was to ride as a unit going into the final circuits of the day to protect our sprinter, Marc! All was going perfectly to plan into the circuits with Jeremy protecting Marc perfectly in the base of the tough climb that is very selective at the end of a hard stage race. Marc was feeling good and we still had the team together. We put Kieran on the front to pull the break back with the other teams which allowed Marc and Jeremy to sit on the back of trains protected.

Going into the last lap, Jeremy flatted with 5 miles to go. For most people this would be game over, but Jeremy was set on getting back to his sprinter at all costs. With a quick neutral wheel service and some crafty convoy riding and a bit of help from the Gabby in the team car, Jeremy some how was able to get on to the back of the small field with about 4k to go! Jeremy tried to make his way up to Marc, but the chaotic nature of the a downhill technical finish didn’t allow them to connect in time for the sprint and Jeremy found himself battling on the back of the very fast An Post / Chain Reaction teams lead out train. He bucked down and held on for an impressive 8th place in the exceedingly fast sprint finish. Marc finished just behind, and disappointed rightfully as he has been on some amazing form this Ras.

Ollie and Kieran have finished their first 8 day UCI stage race and with a little rest, those guys will be winning races before you know it!

The team is so incredibly proud of what we were able to accomplish this week. We came to the Ras to race hard and make a name for ourselves. Unfortunately the racing was very controlled from the GC teams and through the mountains, but we battled through attacking the race at every moment possible.

Stay tuned for a full race look back and a great photo gallery from our beautiful week in Ireland!

Hats off to Ollie, Jeremy, Kieran, Marc, and of course Elliot Porter who is at home now healing up from his crash!

 


Stage 6 and 7 – an unfortunate loss and a tough day of racing

Stage 6 featured one of the “flattest” profiles of the week, but the race was to be a lot more difficult than anticipated. With a very early break that rolled away with the “irish pocketrocket” Eddie Dunbar, the GC teams were happy to control the race and not let the break get a chance to stay away. With that said, everything changed over the second Cat 3 climb of the day, when An post- Chain Reaction team hit it hard over the top of the rolling climb and split the field into pieces. With Elliot Porter, Jeremy Durrin and Kieran Simcox making over the top in the front group, everything was looking great for the team!

Unforunately the worst thing that could possibly happen, happened. When descending into one of the towns after the KOM, a rider took the turn too hot and shouldered Elliot into the side of the road and into the back of a parked vehicle. When Jeremy saw how bad the crash was, he immediately stopped to make sure Elliot was OK. Unfortunately Elliot suffered race ending injuries and had to be taken to the hospital. A broken Shoulder and a lot of scrapes and bruises is what he walked away with, but it could have been a lot worse. The speed at which Elliot hit the back of the parked vehicle would make anyone cringe and think the worst. Luckily he is at home now and in good hands with his family and we can expect him back on the bike very soon to be lighting up the climbs in future races.

Kieran was able to stick it out in the lead group and hold on to a very strong 17th place amongst some big hitters. Its Kierans best UCI result to date, and you can expect him to keep getting better every year.

 

Stage 7 – one for the climbers. Unfortunately with Elliot out of the race we had to look to our breakaway specialist, Jeremy and Marc, to get up the road to hopefully get a good result on the day. Marc managed to get into some really good early moves but unfortunately they all got brought back. Jeremy got away in a very selective group over the first cat 3 climb of the day, and it was looking poised to be the move of the day…. But thats when the real GC battle kicked off. The yellow jersey became isolated and the Irish team hit them hard and split the race to pieces, and it wasn’t until the third climb of the day that everything settled down and 4 riders not a threat to GC remained up the road.

Jeremy positioned himself really well into the climb, but unfortunately the steep gradients do not suit his climbing ability, and he crested just behind the leaders and chased hard but never made it back. Marc Potts came across and the group formed that would later sit up and finish 13 minutes down to the GC group up the road.

It was a very tough day, and one the team walks away empty handed. Tomorrow is the final stage and we will look to our sprinters to hopefully bring home some great results before heading back to England after a very tough 8 days of racing!

Check out the gallery below from Nathaniel Rosa.

 


RAS stage 4 and 5…Aggression & climbing!

Stage 4 of the An Post Rás is done and dusted and we ended the day with 2 top 20 results. The team rode really well together as a unit and are showing massive improvement every day. The goal was to set Elliott up for the final climb and to save Marc and Ollie for the final sprint in case it came back together which in fact it did.

Everyday the team is growing in confidence and strength and are showing that they are here to race and not just roll around.

Expect some good results in the last half of the race.

Stage 5 was one of the more brutal days of the race so far. The team was very aggressive early on and sent riders up the road but the Austrian team leading the race were not happy with much getting up the road. Ollie Maxwell got in the best move early on that should have gone away, but the way this race is unfolding – you can’t anticipate anything. That break got brought back before the first climb of the day and the Australians were happy riding the front over the long Cat 2 climb and really strung out the field.

The race never really had anything up the road until after the first four climbs of the day, and that’s when our killer Marc Potts got across to the only move that stayed away. Marc is really coming on strong through the race and his day will definitely come over the next three days. The move of 11 riders he was in actually stayed away, but the climbers in the group hit it up the cat 2 climb splitting the break into two and Marc made it over the front of the climb with the very select group of climbers that surged out of the peleton.

Elliot Porter was able to charge across to Marc’s group in the finish and hang out with the top climbers late in the race.

Jeremy was climbing really well and making sure Elliot was good to go over all the big climbs throughout the day. Ollie was the lead man positioning Elliot into the base of the final climb to make sure he had the best chance when the race really kicked off.

All in all, the team is working together very well and starting to push the limits everyday. We are getting a lot of respect in the peleton and in the commisaires meetings. We can expect some big things from these boys over the final three stages.

 

 


An Post Ras- Stage 2. An uplifting stage!

Today was a much better day for the team. The guys were representing on the front and doing some attacking racing. In particular Marc Potts & Jeremy Durrin were very active early on and made a few good moves off the front but nothing was allowed to escape.
Kieran Simcox & Ollie Maxwell did some good team work and came back to the team car to get bottles for all the team and covered plenty of moves. But with the yellow jersey team not defending the jersey, it made for a chaoticstage and after 2 hours of racing two Irish county riders snuck away and the field sat up.

From there it was just protecting ourselves from crashes and focus on staying upright in the finish.

Elliot Porter and Jeremy Durrin were lead out men for Marc Potts and they positioned him really well on the An Post team and he battled it out in the sprint to just miss out on top 10 with a solid 11th place in the race. 2 county riders stayed away and claimed the stage ahead of the bunch.

Tomorrow we are on to the very tough day with the Connor Pass climb, which will be a day for the climbers!

Watch out for Elliot dancing on the pedals up the climb!

‪#‎NVCT


An Post Ras – A brutal start to the 8 days of racing

Stage one of the An Post Ras was a rude awakening. There was very aggressive racing from the start and the team suffered some very bad luck throughout the day.

Kieran was the first casualty of the day crashing hard 10km into the race and having to ride a spare bike to the finish. Elliot got caught up as well but was able to rejoin the bunch 25k later.

Marc and Jeremy rode very aggressively to get off the front and nothing was getting away as the race was very fast and aggressive. There would only be a small breakaway late in the race that was able to distance themselves by only a small margin.

Unfortunately 10k to go another big crash held up Marc, Jeremy and Ollie. This crash was the 8 one of the day. Just surviving this first stage was a step in the right direction.

Elliot finished in the small select group and is looking good.

Tomorrow is the longest day and should be another tough day in the saddle. There are 7 more days of opportunities and we are looking forward to a good day today at Stage 2!

Photos: Nathaniel Rosa

 


An Post Ras team roster announced

On Sunday the team will be starting the prestigious 8 day stage race in Ireland. The An Post Ras.

We are excited to announce our 5 man squad for the race.

Riders:

Jeremy Durrin- USA

Marc Potts- IRL

Elliott Porter

Ollie Maxwell

Kieran Simcox

Staff:

Director Sportif/Team Manager- Gabby Durrin

Mechanic- Alex Gidley

Soigneur- Paul Sinnott

Soigneur- Gary Donaldson

Photographer/Videographer- Nathaniel Rosa

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We have a strong team this year and feel that the 5 riders we have selected will work well together and produce some great results.

Our team goals will focus on a 2 pronged attack. Stage wins and vying for overall GC contention.

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Team manager Gabby Durrin had this to say-

”I believe I have selected a strong core group of riders for the Ras. This is a very tough stage race, 8 days of epic racing. I selected the team based on the course this year. The race features many more hillier stages and so we needed a team capable of climbing with the best guys. I also wanted to have a group of guys with a good mix of experience and development. I believe this team represents that. Jeremy, Elliott and Marc all have a wealth of experience when it comes to stage racing and in particular the Ras they will be great mentors for our 2 younger rider Ollie and Kieran. I am looking forward to seeing our 2 young guys really developing and shining in this stage race. Our team goals will be to be a GC contender, to be up there in the finish sprints and hopefully standing on the podium! We will be wanting to show a strong team presence so will be aiming to be in the main breakaways of the day. We may be a smaller elite team but we are sure coming to this race with much courage, big hearts and all guns a-blazing! Be prepared to be amazed!!!!”

 

Here is a little more about the 5 riders selected:

Jeremy Durrin

Jeremy is a breakaway specialist and raced the RAS last year. He was often off the front in the breakaway of the day. He is a smart rider with good experience in stage racing. He is from the USA and previously raced for the professional team Optum Pro Cycling (now Rally Pro Cycling) He has played a big support role to his team leaders in the UCI stage race the Tour of Utah and the Tour of Korea where the team won stages. He is also a cyclo cross specialist and competed for Team USA in the World Championships in February.

Marc Potts

Marc Potts is our Irish rider. He is a RAS veteran! Marc is a strong rider and during the winter season did a world cup track campaign with Team Ireland. Marc is on some great form and will be coming into the Ras fully focused and motivated. Last week he won the prestigious Shey Elliott Memorial road race, so he is brimming with confidence. Marc will be looking to put in some strong performances on home soil and make some winning moves!

Elliott Porter

Elliott is a very strong rider and is very much suited to races with plenty of climbing. He has raced the Ras before and will be a great GC contender for the team. Elliott wore the KOM jersey in the UCI Tour of Korea in 2014. This years Ras course features many more mountain climb stages which will play well to Elliott’s strengths. Keep an eye out for him dancing on the pedals up the Irish climbs!

Ollie Maxwell

Ollie is the teams sprinter. He is a a determined young driven rider. This will be Ollie’s first UCI stage race and he is very excited. Ollie is one to watch in the finish. He will be looking to contend the finish sprint if the race stays together. Ollie is a fighter and never gives up. Big things to come for this young gun!

Kieran Simcox

Kieran is the youngest guy on the team and is very talented. He wants to make the big step up to the elite level racing. Kieran has already shown that he is more than capable. This will be Kieran’s first UCI stage race, he is definately up for the tough man’s challenge! His strengths in particular are on the climbs, so the hillier days of the Ras should suit him well. Kieran will play an important role within the team and this 8 day stage race will really develop him as a rider and give him plenty of confidence moving forward.

Stay up to date with the teams progress and all the race stages at the Ras by following our social media channels:

Facebook- neon velo cycling team

Twitter- @neon_velo

Instagram- neonvelocyclingteam


Q&A with Irish star Marc Potts

Marc Potts is a quietly confident, smart racer. He spent last season living and racing in Belgium. He is also rather handy on the track and has competed for Ireland in some of the world cups. Marc is very focused and excited for the An Post Ras. He is a local favourite. Keep an eye out for him next week!

Read this little question and answer with Marc to learn a little more about him!

Hometown:

”Beragh/Omagh”

What is your favourite type of course?

”Hard/punchy”

What is your favourite race?

”An Post Ras”

What is your proudest moment on the bike?

”Probably last year finishing 5th in road Nationals in my home town. The support made it really special”

What music gets you pumped up for racing or training?Do you have a playlist? Fav Music in general?

”I have a Spotify playlist which I listen to everyday, it varies from Arctic monkeys to Duran Duran. There is no specific genre. If I like a band/song then I stick it in the playlist, keeps training fairly interesting.”

What is your favourite food?

”Pizza/pastas and more recently Thai food”

1 fun fact about yourself that we may not know…

”I have a really crap tattoo on my ankle which I did myself after a night out when I was in college. I’m open for recommendations of tattoos to cover it up….”


Photo Diary- Lincoln Grand Prix

The team have been lucky enough to have Paul Wright documenting the past few race weekends.

Check out his website: http://paulywright.co.uk/


WIN in the Shay Elliot Memorial race and the Lincoln Grand Prix

The team was split between the Lincoln Grand Prix and our Irish strong man, Marc Potts, competing in the historic Shay Elliot Memorial race. Lincoln would see the finish the of the Motorpoint Spring Series, and it would be a fight all day as the overall was up for grabs with the competition being so close.

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The team had a tough day out on the road, with a couple crashes taking out our riders. The guys rode strong all day, but unfortunately missed the main split of the day when JLT took control of the front and split the field over the Michaelgate climb through Lincoln center. David Bolland was able to get into a very dangerous early move for the team, relieving some pressure from the other riders on the team which was fantastic! It was a local race for David, so the fans were going crazy for him over the climb.

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It was a game of catch up after that and the team rode their hearts out eventually putting Will Bjergfelt up the road in the move that went across to the break, but unfortunately Will didn’t quite have that high end explosive power to stay with the group over the punchy cobbled climb. An impressive ride by Will, as you all know its incredible that he is even riding at this level after his near fatal accident.

With our team left racing for minor placings, Ollie Maxwell took the initiative to get up the road in a last ditch attempt to get across to the leaders, ultimately coming up a little short.

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Meanwhile in Ireland, our strong man Marc Potts, was dominating the prestigious Shay Elliot Memorial race. Marc got away in a small breakaway early on in the race and ended up in a two up sprint for the win, with Marc taking the big WIN! Marc is showing excellent form coming into the An Post Ras starting next sunday and we will most definitely be seeing him up front vying for the stage win! Winning always feels great, and the team couldn’t be prouder of Marc for winning on home soil.

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Next up is the An Post Ras, a historic 8 day stage race in Ireland that will feature some of the toughest racing conditions we will face all year. We are primed and ready for a fight and plenty of opportunities!

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Q & A with Kieran Simcox

Kieran is the youngest rider on our team but has shown huge potential so far this season. He is a fantastic climber but can also handle the punchy flatter style races. He recently competed in his first UCI race- The Rutland Cicle Classic and showed that he is exceptionally capable. Kieran has a bright future and is known amongst the team as the ‘Silent Assasin’

 

What is your favourite type of course?

”Being quite a light rider, my favourite type of course would definitely be one with a climb in it. However I do like to think i’m also quite a punchy rider. I like a good hard race to thin out the competition! I think Lincoln GP will be a really good race for me with several ascents of the infamous Michaelgate. Saying that I also love chucking my bike round corners at stupid speeds in Crits.”

What is your favourite race?

”Manx GP would have to be my favourite race that I’ve raced in to date. With the world tour competition and the awesome 25min climb it was pretty awesome!! However my favourite race/ races to watch would be The Tour of Yorkshire as it’s on home roads and so I’m driven to ride it one day! Also I love watching Liege-Bastogne-Liege as it is so prestigious and carries so much history.”

What is your proudest moment on the bike?

”My proudest ever moment would have to be getting around my first ever club run with Dinnington RC without blowing up and getting dropped! (Around 2 years ago now) (Thanks Dave Marsh for the help). It still remains my proudest moment as its been the springboard to where I am now. I aspire to hopefully make the next step up to Continental Level in the near future.”

What music gets you pumped up for racing or training?Do you have a playlist?

”Anything that’s on the radio in the team car when I’m pinning my number on before the race!!”

What is your favourite food?

”Anyone who knows me, knows that Pizza and cheesy garlic bread are my favourite foods :)”

1 fun fact about yourself that we may not know…

”At Nursery school, I was racing round in a toy push car racing another kid, I went too fast and managed to flip the car breaking my Finger. Since then I’ve managed to build the worlds biggest hospital file!! Without doubt I am the most clumsy person on the Planet!!”