Teggart targets the top on biggest stage

Banbridge's Matthew Teggart, who is hoping for a good race when he pulls on the Ireland jersey next week.
Banbridge's Matthew Teggart, who is hoping for a good race when he pulls on the Ireland jersey next week.

Matthew Teggart reckons he has what it takes to grab the headlines at next week’s An Post Rás.

The Banbridge lad will race for the Irish national team and that in itself is the fulfilment of an ambition.

However, it hasn’t quite quenched his thirst for success. He knows he has as much chance as anyone else to finish well, and he’s determined to turn that dream into reality.

“Getting the call-up was massive for me,” he beamed. “It was one of my aims for the season right from the beginning of the year when I heard there was a possibility of an Irish team in the race.

“The Rás is the biggest race in the country and always has been. I grew up watching my dad and uncle riding the race so for me to now have the chance to ride it with the Irish national team is really an honour.

“We’re not going in with any pressure. We are a very young team and are more-so there for the experience.

“We are still very much capable of getting some great results and being right up there fighting for the win every day.

“I personally would be pleased with one or two good stage results during the eight days.”

Teggart learnt his trade with hometown club Banbridge CC but last year moved to France to race with professional team AC Bisontine.

It was a big move for the then 19 year-old but he took it all in his stride. Now it’s a way of life.

“Full time cycling and living abroad is now a normality for me and I love it,” he said.

“I’ve been very pleased with my season so far over on the continent.

“I’ve improved so much from last year and I’m starting to get a few results now in some of the biggest races in France, which is great.

“I’ve also got a lot of call ups for the Irish team in the early season, riding some of the biggest races there are for U23s so I’m gaining a lot of experience.”

Matthew spends the majority of his year trying to out-do former Bann team-mate Mark Downey. However, next week the pair will be willing each other on as they both race for the Ireland team.

“It’s great to have Mark in the team with me,” he said.

“With us being such good mates and both racing with each other every week over in the continent, it will definitely be a good help as well as good craic in the hotels between the stages.”

For Mark’s take on next week’s race, have a look at his interview here.

Matthew’s father Neil was also an international cycling star. It’s little surprise then that his son has inherited a determined mindset, keen to plan for both the short and long term.

“After the Rás I’ll take a small break and then will head back out to France for the second half of the season with my team AC Bisontine,” he said.

“I will most likely be out there until October so staying healthy and injury free is the main struggle all year but I hope to continue improving and getting bigger and bigger results on the continent.

“I will see what my options are at the end of the year then.”

For now though, all that’s in his mind is doing his family, club, town and nation proud in Ireland’s biggest race.