Mullen extends, Kruopis joins An Post Chainreaction Sean Kelly team

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Second in the world under 23 time trial championships, where he finished just .48 seconds behind Campbell Flakemore’s gold medal, Ryan Mullen has passed over offers from other teams and decided to spent another season with the An Post Chainreaction Sean Kelly squad.

The 20 year old rider was one of several names confirmed by the Irish-registered, Belgian-based Continental squad on Monday. Rather than moving elsewhere, the Irish Elite road race and under 23 time trial champion believes another year at his current team is the best option for his long-term development.

“I’m really happy to stay with An Post,” said Mullen, who was also seventh in the Tour of Britain time trial. “It’s been a great year for me and that’s down to the experience I’m getting with the team and the guidance from Kurt.

“I’m really keen to further progress my development on the road and the team’s programme is perfect for this so I’m really looking forward to just getting started again.”

Also confirmed for 2015 is the 28 year old Lithanian sprinter Aidis Kruopis, who moves to the team after three years with the Orica GreenEdge team. Kruopis won two stages plus the overall in the Tour du Poitou-Charentes in 2012 plus stages in the Tour of Norway and the Tour de Pologne. Since then he won a stage in the 2013 Tour of Turkey and the sprints classification in this year’s Tour de Langkawi.

Stepping down from WorldTour will sharpen his resolve for a strong season, and his speed will be a big plus for the team next year.

Kruopis will be joined by compatriot and national road race champion Paulius Siskevicius. Other new signings include Lotto-Belisol stagiaire Xandro Meurisse plus fellow Belgians Alexander Maes and Jens Vandenbogaerde. Australian 18 year old Jordan Stannus has signed up on a two year contract while Briton Alistair Slater and Irishman Eoin McCarthy will also debut next season.

Those staying on board include the former omnium world champion Aaron Gate of New Zealand, plus Irishmen Jack Wilson, Sean Downey and Conor Dunne.

“I think the squad we have assembled is one of the strongest I’ve ever had,” said Bogaerts. “We have real talent in depth and all the riders have a really good attitude. It’s a massive boost to our team to be able to say we are keeping hold of Ryan [Mullen]. He’s an incredible talent and no doubt he had a lot of options out there but we are delighted he has decided to stay with us.

“Keeping world class athletes like him and Aaron Gate and then bringing in Aidis [Kruopis] who has huge experience is great for the team and for the other riders. I’m really looking forward to getting everyone together at the training camps and working hard for the season ahead.”

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