Aqua Blue Sport rid­ers in limbo after team col­lapses

Rac­ing and spon­sor­ship woes force Ir­ish team’s im­me­di­ate clo­sure

Cycling Weekly - - News -

Aqua Blue Sport is the lat­est in the long line of cy­cling teams to face ex­tinc­tion after links to pos­si­ble merg­ers fell through and the team col­lapsed last Mon­day.

Manx­man Mark Chris­tian was one of the rid­ers to re­ceive the sur­prise an­nounce­ment via an email from team boss Rick De­laney.

“It came as a shock; I don’t think any­one saw it com­ing,” he said. “I woke up and was hav­ing my por­ridge and an email came up from the ac­tual owner say­ing ‘please see at­tached re­gard­ing team’.

“It said how they set out with cer­tain goals and how we have had a good two years and then out of nowhere it says the Tour of Bri­tain will be the team’s last race.

“By the time I had fin­ished read­ing that email it was all over so­cial me­dia,” said the 27-year-old. The ini­tial prom­ise of a ride at the Tour of Bri­tain was ex­tin­guished hours later as the team pulled out and seem­ingly won’t take to the road again, leav­ing Chris­tian and many of his team-mates in limbo for next year.

“I’ve been in con­tact with a lot of teams al­ready and had a mixed re­sponse be­cause it’s quite late in the day,” Chris­tian said. “There are spa­ces go­ing — it’s just about be­ing in con­tact with as many as pos­si­ble. When it comes out of the blue like this it’s dif­fi­cult to sud­denly switch on and start go­ing for teams out of nowhere.”

Aqua Blue has had a year to for­get, hav­ing re­ceived no Grand Tour in­vi­ta­tions, or even an of­fer to ride the Tour of Cal­i­for­nia, de­spite hav­ing US road star Larry War­basse on its books. There has also been a fall­ing out with bike spon­sor 3T after Aqua Blue boss De­laney crit­i­cised 3T’s sin­gle-ring groupset on Twit­ter, say­ing: “this lab rat thing is cost­ing re­sults”.

For many, the team’s demise won’t come as a sur­prise, but hind­sight won’t help rid­ers like Chris­tian. He must now bat­tle to save his am­bi­tions of rid­ing the World Cham­pi­onships later this month in Aus­tria. The dis­ap­point­ment of miss­ing out on the TOB is two-fold as it also jeop­ar­dises his Worlds se­lec­tion. Chris­tian is on the

“It came as a shock — I don’t think any­one saw this com­ing”

longlist, but the other 15 rid­ers on it are all rac­ing at the Vuelta, Tour of Bri­tain or in Canada in the lead-up to Inns­bruck.

“The Tour of Bri­tain was the ideal win­dow to show my form and put my­self for­ward for se­lec­tion,” Chris­tian said. “But I’m car­ry­ing on train­ing as if I’m go­ing to do the Worlds.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.