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Fast start augurs well for An Post team delivering

With over 1,300 An Post personnel bringing mail by bicycle to the public on a regular basis, hopefully the An Post/Sean Kelly/Grant Thornton Team can deliver with performances on the cycling circuit in Europe and further afield.

It was all smiles in Tielt, Belgium, on Tuesday when the team was introduced to the public, especially the six Irish members of the side, David O'Loughlin, Matt Bremmier, Ronan McLoughlin, Mark Cassidy, Connor McConvey and Paidi O'Brien.

They figured highly over the five days of racing last week in the Tour Etoile de Besseges in southern France.

The bonus was the stage win by Belgian Niko Eeckhout, and a third place overall finish for fellow Belgian and new signing Pieter Ghyllebert.

The team includes a notable new addition in Belfastman McConvey, who's made the switch from mountain biking.

The team will be back in action next week in the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal, where Cassidy and McLoughlin will make their debut for the season.

The squad will return to Ireland for the nation's top races, the FBD Insurance Rás, Tour of Ireland and National Championships. Because they have a squad of 18 cyclists, they'll be able to compete at two meets.

Set up by Sean Kelly five years ago, the pro team was designed to give young Irish riders access to a programme of top international races.

Interestingly, Sean Kelly was hopeful of making an impact on the professional scene.

"My job is done for this year, all the sponsors are in place, and I want to create, within a decade, a fully fledged ProTour team, and my manger Kurt Bogerts is adamant that we'll win the Tour de France in that frame time," said Sean.