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Damien Shaw Secures Professional Cycling Contract

posted 7 Dec 2015, 11:31 by Kevin Monaghan
(By Shay O'Toole - Mon. 7th December 2015)   
Damien Shaw (30) will round off 2015 as a professional cyclist. Breaking news from the An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly camp is that they have signed the Mullingar man for the coming season.

The reigning elite national road race champion concluded negotiations with the team principals including Irish cycling legend, Sean Kelly, last Thursday and will now join four fellow Irish pros at the continental team. This deal ensures that he will be exposed to some of the biggest races in the sport which in turn means he can look forward to racing against the best riders in the world.

Unlike most neo-pros who are generally brought into the professional ranks at a much earlier age, the former landscape gardener and fireman is a teak-tough racer and it will be interesting to see how he progresses in the sport on a full-time level. His new manager, Kurt Bogaerts has stated that the An Post Chain Reaction Sean Kelly talent spotters had been tracking his performances over the last two years and the Belgian believes he will “thrive in a full time environment”. Bogaerts also stated in a press release that he believes Damien has “a great mentality and a real hunger to succeed. It’s an exciting time for both An Post Chain Reaction and for him”.

This is an unbelievable opportunity for Shaw who only took up cycle racing in the last five years to keep fit and lose some weight. His talent and determination were soon evident as he “raced” through the amateur ranks and it was merely a matter of months before he became one of the most revered riders on the domestic scene. 

When asked what his thoughts were after landing this dream chance he replied, “I’m over the moon to have the opportunity to concentrate on racing full time. I know it will be difficult but I think under Kurt’s guidance, I can step-up and improve even further”.

Damien’s first foray into the world of professional sport will see him head off to the sunshine of Southern Spain next week for a pre-season warm weather training camp. However, as reported in recent weeks, he is currently rehabilitating after shoulder surgery so no doubt even Kurt Bogaerts will ensure that the newbie restrains himself and is in peak condition for the racing season proper.

From a local perspective, this fantastic news means that Lakeside Wheelers now has its first ever professional rider. Damien himself was keen to express his thanks to all his supporters in the Mullingar area who have helped him in his quest for cycling success. Club chairman Mr Joe Duffy stated that he was “delighted for Damien as he has always had amazing potential” and according to Joe, for the new pro, “the sky’s the limit”.

Damien Shaw following his 2nd place in Ballinamore Ras 2015
Damien Shaw following his 2nd place in Ballinamore Ras 2015