An Post – Chain Reaction rider Wout Franssen claimed the first Pro victory for the team at last weekend’s Pro Race in Houthalen, Belgium. With just over 10km to go to the line, Franssen led a break of four riders into the final section. Feeling strong Wout went on to successfully out-sprint his fellow escapees to take the win.
Sunday also saw a strong result for the team with Alphonse Vermote taking eighth in Rund um Koln (UCI 1.1). He commented: “It was a hard race today but I am feeling good and my form is coming back again!”
The team will now focus on their homecoming race, the An Post Ras, with team manager Kurt Bogaerts naming the provisional An Post-Chainreaction team last Friday. Irish stars Sam Bennett, Ronan McLaughlin and Sean Downey are all part of the provisional line-up and despite making a great impression in his first year with the team, ex-CRC employee Jack Wilson is being held back from the race this year to allow him develop.
The team has won the Ras outright two times in recent years; with Stephen Gallagher in 2008 and Gediminas Bagdonas in 2011 and will be out to repeat that and take some stage wins.
“We will make the final selection based on the outcome of the Rund um Koln in Germany,” Bogaerts said.
“Normally the three Irish riders will be part of the squad, though. Sean Downey is coming into shape, finishing fifth in the Circuit de Wallonie. That finished on a really steep climb like Seskin Hill and you cannot hide on a course like that, you need really good legs. So I’m pleased with his form.”
He continued: “I think the team is more suited to taking stage wins, but I wouldn’t rule the overall out. The best approach is that we will concentrate on stages and on trying to be on the podium as much as possible. The general classification could then take care of itself after that.”
Race director Tony Campbell is keen to see how the team performs: “The An Post riders always give everything to ride well, and have had some very good results in the past with two overall victories and numerous stages. We know they will be highly motivated to ride well, and they should have a very big effect on the overall and stage results.”
First look: Team CRC/Nukeproof Pulse
Here’s the bike you’ve been waiting for; Team CRC/Nukeproof’s Pulse, the bike on which Australian speed machine Sam Hill and UK riders Matt Simmonds and Joe Smith hope to pilot to the top of the downhill World Cup podium in 2013.
Built around the new Nukeproof Pulse downhill frame, the bike uses RockShox Boxxer World Cup forks, a RockShox Vivid RC2 rear shock, SRAM X0 shifting, E*thirteen chain guide, Mavic Deemax Ultimate wheels rolling on Schwalbe tyres, Avid Code brakes and Nukeproof components for seatpost, saddle, handlebar, stem, headset and grips.
Sam Hill’s race bike will be equipped with BlackBox components for the races.
If Sam’s results at the Australian National races so far this year are anything to go by, we’re in for an awesome season as he’s already guided his Pulse to three podium finishes, including two wins.
Team Manager Nigel Page said: “We are delighted with how the team’s Nukeproof Pulse race bikes have turned out. Everyone involved has done an incredible job to make our bikes look amazing and ready to win races! From the custom team paint job and matching RockShox decals the bikes are full factory!
“Sam has been flying in the Aussie races and Matt and Joe have been training hard for the upcoming season. I can’t wait for the first World Cup round at Fort William in June. Drop by our pits for a close up of the bikes and grab a signature from the team riders.”
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CRC ranked number one by Experian
For the second consecutive year Chain Reaction Cycles was the number one website in the Sports – Cycling industry based on market share of UK Internet visits during 2012, according to Experian Hitwise.
The awards, compiled by the world's leading online competitive intelligence service are based on market share of visits among all the UK websites in the Hitwise Sports-Cycling industry throughout 2012. Using a sample of more than eight million UK internet users, Hitwise take usage data from a wide range of ISP networks and opt-in panels from users in the home, work, educational establishments and public access terminals in order to produce results that are unmatched in timeliness, depth and breadth.
Marketing Manager Damien Duggan was honoured to receive the number one ranking again, saying: "To hold the top spot as the UK’s highest ranked cycling website for two years in a row is a huge privilege. Cycling’s on a roll at the moment – Bradley Wiggins’ success at the Tour de France followed by the London 2012 Olympics gave the sport a huge boost and we’re seeing increasing uptake throughout the world, whether people are riding to work, hitting the road in a local sportive or heading for the hills on their mountain bikes.
“We’re always working hard to enhance our customer’s shopping experience and we really appreciate that they’re visiting CRC as their site of choice. We look forward to another great year ahead, and we’d like to thank all our customers for their support.
To win this award once again is another proud moment in our company's history."