With the Easter weekend fast approaching, and with it the most congested weekend of cycle racing in Ireland, Banbridge CC are gearing up for another Tour of the North International cycle race. The 2017 team is full of promise with a mix of both experience and youth; riders who have been there and got the t-shirt, or rather the jersey, and those who will be hoping to replicate those achievements. The make up of the team is Sean Downey, Gareth McKee, Matthew Adair, John Buller & Roger Aiken. They will be managed by Neil Teggart.
The racing kicks off on Saturday 15th April in Broughshane with 4 stages covering 221 miles, concluding on Easter Monday back in Ballymena.
We’ve profiled each member of the Banbridge CC team below – we wish them the best of luck for the weekend and hope to see plenty of support out on the roads cheering them on!
On the Irish domestic scene Sean won a number of one day and stage races including the Tour of Ulster before going on to ride full time in Europe for some of the most highly regarded continental teams including VC La Pomme Marseille and An Post Chain Reaction. He has competed at the highest level against Pro Tour teams in stage races including the Tour of Britain. He has represented Northern Ireland at two Commonwealth Games, winning a bronze medal in the team pursuit in 2010. Sean has also been selected on a large number of Irish road teams, including for the An Post Rás, European Championships, World Championships and European Games. Returning to ride for his ‘home’ club team Sean brings substantial experience and ability.
Known more for his achievements off-road where he is the reigning double Irish National Champion in both X-Country MTB and Marathon MTB, Gareth has proven on multiple occasions he has what it takes to be competitive in road stage racing. Indeed on only his second attempt at the event in 2015 he won the opening road stage of the Tour of the North to take the first Yellow leader’s jersey of the race. He also led the Banbridge CC team in the Tour of Ulster in 2016 where he held the King of the Hills jersey. His diversity as a rider was on show in 2016 having taken Irish national medals in both MTB where he was crowned National Champion and on the road where he won the bronze medal in the National Criterium Championships.
Matt has developed a real taste for stage racing following a number of selections on Ulster teams at events including the Ras Dhun na nGall where he enjoys the harsher terrain and tough climbs. He has played a pivotal team role for Banbridge CC in the Tour of the North and Tour of Ulster in 2015 and 2016 where the team was awarded 1st team on a number of stages and 2nd overall in the 2016 edition of the Tour of Ulster.
While being the youngest member of the team junior rider John Buller has proven he has the potential to be a formidable force against the very best. He would be excused for having a reduced win tally in 2016 due to educational studies but he made his performances count – a streak of 8 consecutive podium places in events across multiple disciplines showed remarkable consistency. He also ended the year having taken the triple crown of Ulster Junior Championship titles having won the Road Race, Mountain Bike and Cyclo Cross titles. He was also part of the Gold medal winning Banbridge CC team at the 2016 National Criterium Championships.
If it wasn’t for his 6 x Irish National Cyclo Cross Championship victories Roger would be known for his Irish Stage racing exploits where he has enjoyed a massive following thanks to his aggressive riding nature that is backed up with an undeniable ability to beat all challengers on his day. 2nd overall and a previous stage win in the An Post Ras does little to demonstrate his influence in Ireland’s only UCI categorised stage race. Roger has also represented Ireland at the Tour of Ireland competing alongside the world’s elite including the likes of Lance Armstrong and Mark Cavendish and represented Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games on two occasions.
Neil Teggart (Team Manager)
Bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table the team will be managed by Neil Teggart. As a rider Neil has competed at the Commonwealth Games in the Road Race and represented Ireland on multiple occasions in international stage races, including the Ras. Tactically astute with a deep knowledge in local road racing and what is needed to win, Neil is the well placed to steer the ship; his input and guidance adds considerable strength to an already imposing team.