Tuesday 23 January 2018

Bennett takes up Brammeier's Post

The An Post/Sean Kelly team have moved quickly to replace departing All-Ireland Road Race champion Matt Brammeier with Sam Bennett.

Liverpool-born rider Brammeier, who was also involved in the Irish national track team, has had a hugely successful season and leaves for a pro contract with HTC Columbia.

His loss to the team leaves the track squad with an insurmountable mountain to climb in relation to qualifying for the 2012 Olympics.

An Post team manager Kurt Bogaerts said: "We can confirm that Matt Brammeier has joined the Colombia team for next season.

"It is nice to see one of our team members move up to this level as Colombia are one of the best teams in the world.

"For one of our riders to progress to the highest level means that we are doing our job well. Matt has really developed with us over the past few years and we wish him the best of luck for the future."

Whilst the door closes on Brammeier with An Post, it opens up for 19-year-old Sam Bennett from Carrick-On-Suir after he signed for the 2011 season. Bennett is a former Martin Donnelly Junior Tour winner, Irish junior champion and is the current national U23 champion.

A pro trial with the FDJ team was in place for him for August and September but he was sidelined due to a knee injury. His aim now is to complete his recovery and prepare for his first season with An Post.

With Conor McConvey, Mark Cassidy, Ronan McLoughlin and Paidi O'Brien all expected to retain their positions on the team for next season, there will be no more available spots for Irish riders because of the restrictions from the Belgian federation.

Bennett was the youngest person ever to win a stage on the Rás, when he won the seventh stage last year. He had been riding for VC La Pomme for the last two seasons.

"We are delighted to announce that we have signed Sam Bennett this week," Bogaerts added. "Sam is one of the best young riders in the country with huge potential."

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