An Athlone cyclist has recently signed with the Irish Talented Athlete Program Team (iTap ) in Galway.
Local cyclist Graham O’Brien has recently signed a two-year contract with the Galway-based athletics team. The cycling development team works with cyclists under the age of 23 running and promoting a cycling scholarship programme to help young cyclists become full-time professional athletes. The programme also has links to UC Monaco which the iTap members can progress to.
O’Brien raced with local Shannonside Cycling Club for two years as a junior before signing with Hennebont Cyclisme where he raced in 2014 and 2015. In 2016 O’Brien was injured and had to return to Ireland which led to him signing with Team iTap.
His opinion on the team was that “to have a team that really wants to develop u23 riders and support them throughout the year in Ireland and abroad is special and one of a kind in Ireland really. There are teams like this in Europe but in Ireland this is a first and I guess it shows the sport is growing and there are more opportunities for young riders.”
O’Brien hopes that team iTap will be able to help him develop in the next two years, allowing him to sign with a development team for one of the Pro Tour professional teams and eventually get a full professional contract. He said “I feel good about this year and the races we will be doing,” also praising all involved: “The manager has coached pro athletes at the top level so I’m looking forward to learning from him and racing with my teammates”