The An Post/Chain Reaction/Sean Kelly team will be down a key man next season with the announcement that Sam Bennett from Carrick-on-Suir has signed professional forms with a German outfit this week.
It was an ideal birthday present for Sam, who had an exceptionally good season with his two stage wins in the An Post Rás held in May.
Team NetApp-Endura secured his signature a couple of days ago as the Northern Ireland Tourist Board announced plans to attract an additional number of people go PINK and visit the province next May.
NetApp-Endura had an invitation to the 2012 of Giro d'Italia and are keen to secure one for the 2014 edition.
"It would be great if Sam along with Nicholas Roche, Daniel Martin and Philip Deignan were on the start line in Belfast next May," said Darach McQuaid of Shadetree Sports, who played a pivotal role in securing the event to start in Ireland next year.
"To have four members of the professional ranks on Irish soil for the Giro would be fantastic."