Stickybottle

Well-known Irish cycling figures behind new Irish UCI pro team

Posted on: December 6th, 2018

Irish cycling team Evo Pro Racing

A new UCI Continental team from Ireland will be in the pro bunch next year. At the helm are well known figures in Irish cycling including PJ Nolan, Morgan Fox and, above, Matteo Cigala.

 

Irish cycling team Evo Pro Racing launched for 2019

 

A new Irish team is set to ride at UCI Continental level next year with the launch of the Evo Pro Racing squad.

The team features some of the personnel involved this year with the Viner-Caremark–Pactimo domestic outfit and the Holdsworth Pro Racing squad.

Morgan Fox, who was team principal with Viner-Caremark-Pactimo and acted as directeur on some international races with Holdsworth this year, is involved.

And Matteo Cigala, who rode for both aforementioned teams at different times this year, also features in the management staff.

Another man at the centre of the new set-up is former Cycling Ireland president PJ Nolan. Meath man Nolan, a former RTE broadcaster, is general manager of the new squad.

Fox, an ex-pro and former national champion, is head of sports directors. He raced in Europe for many years and will bring that experience with him.

Cigala is a sports director and also fills the role of head of athlete performance with Evo Pro Racing.

He is a former Italian U23 international and has settled in Ireland in recent years, winning some of the biggest races on the domestic circuit.

He is an experienced coach and rider, who has enjoyed significant success in both roles, and would be a great candidate to mentor developing riders.

Jon Dam, an Australian who worked with the Interpro-Stradalli team this year, is also as a sports director with the new Evo Pro Racing.

The team will have a 14-rider roster in its first season in the pro peloton in 2019. So far it has unveiled two of its riders, with more to come in the next few days.

Matt Teggart, who rode with the Team Wiggins outfit this year and An Post-Chainreaction before that, has joined the new team.

The only other rider named at the time of writing was Australian Harry Sweeny. The 20-year-old rode for the Mitchelton-Scott Continental team for the past two seasons.

 

Irish cycling team Evo Pro Racing

Morgan Fox, right, is one of the key people behind the new Evo Pro Racing team (Photo: John Hammer)

 

Coming at a testing time for cycling, the launch of Evo Pro Racing is very good news from an Irish perspective.

The An Post-Chainreaction team had been operating for a decade but it stopped at the end of the 2017 campaign.

An Post, the Irish postal service, ceased all of its cycling sponsorship. And that left Sean Kelly’s and Kurt Bogaerts’s team looking for a new title sponsor.

They were unable to find one and so the team was absent from the bunch this year. It was hoped it could return next year. However, the advertising and sponsorship market remains soft.

Sean Kelly recently told stickybottle the team was still trying to find a backer that could support it for a number of seasons.

Ireland will have UCI team

Aqua Blue Sport, which rode at ProContinental level, has also closed its doors. It ran into a number of problems and has now ended after almost two seasons.

It meant for the first time in over a decade it appeared there would be no UCI-registered Irish team next year. But the launch of Evo Pro Racing has averted that scenario.

And with even experienced pro riders finding it hard to secure places at teams next year, the new team could be a lifeline for Irish riders.

Some of them, though very successful in recent years, have been caught out by the harsh market conditions in pro cycling at present.

We’ll have more from Matt Teggart later and more about this team in the next few days.

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