Bike racing is such a mix of emotions, luck, commitment, dedication, honesty, courage……..the list is endless. One thing we can say for sure is the riders at iTap have tasted every one throughout the winter of 2014 and the racing season of 2015. They and the support of their families who have been backed up by all our Sponsors and Partners accomplished all of the targets set out and more.
During the year the Team collected 14 wins in total. In the mix were National Elite Road Race Series, Regional Elite and Team wins, with scores of podiums from Open Road Races to National Elite Series Events. The teams most important win in 2015 was the National Elite Criterium Championships. To say that we were all delighted to take some Gold Jewelry home to round off our first season is but and understatement and is conformation that our program is working. From the Junior ranks in 2014 to where these young men stand today is but a testament to them. From Junior to Elite A1 licenses in 12 months and with the assistance of the team Daire Feeley as a first year U23 finishing 5th in the National Elite Raod Series and first U23 Rider.
The year has also had some down times. It is when the Team visited these moments that the riders personalities really shone through. The whole Team crashed out of the National Elite Road Race Championships with Darragh Bailey and Daire Feeley getting back in touch and finishing in what was left of the bunch. Unfortunatley after chasing for a full lap to get back on the break had already gone. David Brody had to abandon on the day due to a terminal mechanical sustained in the crash where is rear mech was torn from the frame. One could have done a neater job with a blunt chainsaw on his machine. We also had some crashes with Daire Feeley doing a mighty face plant in the Des Hanlon which drew us to Portlaoise General for a few stitches. Some other not so damaging incidents but none the less having and impact of the results sheet for us.
Our first year on social media platform has also seen a massive transformation with our page now close to 200o like and a gross projected impressions number of 2,500,000. This is generated across our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (@teamitap), and Web Page. Our Partners and Sponsors.
Through 2016 we intend to double our impression numbers to 5 million which in turn will provide an excellent platform for our current and future Sponsors & Partners to promote their business and products. We can only say that this and the media training given to our riders has assisted in providing and honest, professional and healthy image of our development program which has secured all our 2015 Sponsors & Partners for 2016 and beyond
We also need to to give a shout out to Shay Davern who cycle from Westport in Mayo to Blackrock in Dundalk (258km) in aid of Team iTap. As we all know how difficult it has been for many over the least number of years, here at Team iTap finding a Main Sponsor to cover the day to day expenses of the Team has been a battle. As Shay wanted to contribute to the Team iTap program and with a busy work schedule he decided to ride his bike, loose weight in doing so and ask a few businesses to contribute to the cause. Shay accomplished this. He road 258km in one day with some of his mates and generated a generous cheque for the team which covered the teams expenses on the end of year trip to Belgium for some international racing. Without people like Shay this U23 Cycling Development Program would not exist. Here is a list of the companies who contributed to Shay’s Charity Ride and Team iTaps trip to belgium.
- STS Group Ireland http://www.stsgroup.ie
- MTM Engineering http://mtm-engineering.com
- Collen Construction http://www.collen.com/Home.aspx
- O Dwyer Safety Servics http://www.odwyersafetyservices.ie
- Lightning Technology http://www.lightningtech.ie
Shay and Team iTap would also like to thank our Race & Civilian Clothing Sponsor & Partner Kalas Ireland for providing the clothing and kit and also to O’Neills Cycles in supporting Shay on the Charity Cycle.
Our goals f0r 2016 are set even higher than 2015. This is a real and natural progression for the development of the U23 Program. Our goals include wins in Ireland, UK and Europe. While at home the riders will ride domestic races both Open and National Series Events throughout the year. We will be visiting the UK for 6-10 events and also heading to Europe for some early season racing and finishing off the season with the Ronde Van Oost Vlaanderan U23 5 Day Stage Race in Belgium. We currently have 2 available positions on the Team for 2016 and when the suitable riders are found these positions will be filled. Again if the Team can secure a main Sponsor for the 2016 season more racing will be complete dabroad which will give higher exposure for the riders to international competition and also for our sponsors and partners. Our Sponsorship & Partnering menu and opportunities link HERE .
A vital part of the program as a whole is our Partners & Sponsors. Tony O’Neill Cycles in Tuam have been instrumental in supplying our Moda Finale machine’s during 2015 and without whom would have increased the burden on the families of the riders and the team. From servicing to equipment consumables and full replacement of terminally crashed bikes the guys in O’Neill’s have been excellent. We haven’t had to put a spoke key or spanner near our bike’s or wheels all year thanks to them and we are looking forward to continued partnering in 2016.
When it came to our clothing it was the one and only Kalas Ireland that looked after us through the year. Like O’Neill’s Cycles dealing with a number of crashes in the early season the Kalas guys had the same treatment for the riders. Within a week fresh new kit arrived for the riders to keep them looking professional and well presented. Kalas kitted the rider for all eventualities. Don’t forget that Team iTap won the National Criterium Championships in Kalas Skinsuits. #winnerswearkalas. The fastest skin suit the guys have ever worn. The riders now have there #Rainmem kit from Kalas for the winter. A totally rain and windproof system that is printable where you can have it made to your club colours and not just black. Kalas are based in Naas, Co Kildare right off the motorway.
We also have the Bike Clinic in Castlebar to thank for feeding the riders on the bike during the year. The guys up there sent more than what was needed to keep the riders going throughout the year. In further helping out the U23 Program the Bike Clinic also covered the cost of servicing the Team Car and ensured it stayed healthy and reliable throughout the season which was of great appreciation by everyone involved in the program.
We only have a short Thank You for our Coaching & Athlete Services Partner & Sponsor The Athlete Clinic. The results the riders have achieved say it all and without you guys we wouldn’t be here. The Athlete Clinic provides all the athlete services to make the guys go fast and fast they are going. Just a note to say that The Athlete Clinic has invested over 1250 man hours in the program during 2015. If you’re looking for coaching, injury management, ramp testing or any athlete service give them a shout and you will go fast.
In looking back we can only thank everyone who has helped from parents and families to our sponsors & partners. We want to say a hugh thanks to all the social media supporters and to the people on the side of the road, be they marshall’s, spectators or countrymen. Thanks to Jimmy McElroy for the photos and being our Team Photographer lets keep the memories coming while we achieve our Goals. Remember guys “A Goal is only a wish until you have a plan” Have a good winter and here’s to 2016!
All the gang @TeamiTap