Many of Ireland’s pro cyclists still looking for teams for 2019

Posted on: November 18th, 2018

The pro cycling market is even tougher than usual at present. And Ireland has no shortage of riders looking for a team for next season.


Irish riders are no stranger to challenging conditions when trying to look for a pro team. But this winter that challenge is extreme.

Those riders who find themselves out of contract face something of a perfect storm.

Not only are team sizes getting smaller, but a number of outfits at WorldTour, ProContinental and Continental level have also closed.

And the small Irish end of the market has been particularly badly hit with team closures.

It was hoped Sean Kelly’s team, An Post-Chainreaction, would return in 2019 after a season-long hiatus.

However, its difficulties in securing a new sponsor when An Post ended its backing at the conclusion of the 2017 season have continued.

And  Sean Kelly has recently confirmed to stickybottle that the squad will not return to the pro peloton next season, as had been hoped.

The Aqua Blue Sport team, which had competed at ProContinental level, has also folded. It ceased in August as it was hit by a  number of problems at the same time.

There had been issues with its 3T bikes and a merger with, or acquisition of, a rival squad also floundered.

Those issues were underpinned by the fact the team’s e-commerce business had not brought in the revenues it anticipated.

It means two very obvious options for up and coming Irish riders, or perhaps those in the last years of their careers, are now unavailable.

Added to that, there have been several closures of British Continental teams this year.

And the likes of Team Wiggins – which had three Irish riders on its roster this season – is scaling back and sticking strictly to U23 riders.

The future of the Holdsworth Pro Racing team – home to four Irish riders this year – is also unclear.

We’ve put together this list of Irish male riders racing for teams in the three tiers of pro racing this year.

Their team at the start of the 2018 season is next to each of their names, followed by their status as the moment for next season.

As you can see, a lot of our best riders are still looking for teams and/or are yet to confirm their destination for 2019.


Irish pro cyclists; teams in 2018 and state of play for 2019

World Tour

  • Nicolas Roche BMC Racing – Moving to Team Sunweb
  • Sam Bennett Bora-hansgrohe – going into final season of current contract with Bora-hansgrohe
  • Philip Deignan Team Sky – Departing Team Sky, no confirmed team to date
  • Dan Martin UAE Team Emirates – Moving into second year of two-year deal
  • Ryan Mullen Trek-Segafredo – Moving into second year of two-year deal


Pro Continental

  • Conor Dunne Aqua Blue Sport – Israel Cycling Academy
  • Stephen Clancy Novo Nordisk – Extended with Novo-Nordisk
  • Eddie Dunbar Aqua Blue Sport – Signed for Team Sky
  • Matt Brammeier Aqua Blue Sport – Retired, now working for British Cycling



  • Cormac Mcgeough Jelly Belly Maxxis – No confirmed team
  • Ben Walsh Vitus Pro Cycling – Moving to French team GSC Blagnac Vélo Sport 31
  • Bryan McCrystal Holdsworth – Did not race for Holdsworth in 2018
  • Matt Teggart Team Wiggins – No confirmed team
  • Robert Jon McCarthy JLT-Condor – No confirmed team
  • Sean McKenna Holdsworth – No confirmed team
  • Michael O’Loughlin Team Wiggins – expected to remain with Wiggins
  • Conn McDunphy Holdsworth – Moving to French team CC Nogent sur Oise
  • Mark Downey Team Wiggins – No confirmed team
  • Dermot Trulock Holdsworth – No confirmed team, departed Holdsworth mid-season
  • Damien Shaw Holdsworth – No confirmed team