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Archie Ryan, above, and Darren Rafferty are back in action this week for EF Education-EasyPost (Photo: Toby Watson)

Two of Ireland’s brightest young stars, Darren Rafferty and Archie Ryan, are back in action this week for their World Tour team EF Education-EasyPost, after a mid season break from racing.

Rafferty’s last race was Eschborn-Frankfurt (1.UWT) one month ago, though that followed immediately after Tour de Romandie and a busy schedule of racing generally in March and April.

Ryan has been away from the peloton for a little longer than his compatriot and team mate as his last race was Liège-Bastogne-Liège (1.UWT) back on April 21st.

However, both World Tour neo pros will be back in action tomorrow, Wednesday, in Mercan’ Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes (1.1) in France.

The 168km race from Puget-Théniers to Valberg is made for the climbers and features a finish at the summit of the Col de Valberg.

The course has been slightly changed this year to match the penultimate stage of the Tour de France. It will still be a selective one with over 4,000m of ascent over 168.2km.

The race should suit both Rafferty and Ryan, if they can find their racing legs immediately after being away from competition for a period of weeks.

Ryan already has a win under his belt this season, having claimed at a stage, and 2nd overall, Coppi e Bartali (2.1) in Italy back in March. Rafferty has also ridden very well so far this year and was impressive throughout the Tour de Romandie, including going on the attack on the final stage.

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