Aqua Blue Sport are Ireland’s first ever Pro-Continental Cycling Team, for those who don’t know that places them one division below World Tour and one division above Continental level previously included Irish team An Post Chain Reaction.
Multi-millionaire own Rick Delaney has made it clear that he and his team of 16 riders aren’t here to make up numbers and the more ambitious goal is to be apart of the Tour de France line up within the next 3 to 4 years.
Rick stated that “I want this team to perform. Obviously we all need to learn. We are depending on a lot of people with a lot of experience, but we still have a lot to learn. So, rather than try to jump in at the high end, we go in at the Pro Conti level, try to perform, make our mark and then go to the next level.”
“I have the luxury of cycling with some of the world’s best cyclists there,” he explains. “I thought how it cool it would be to have an Irish professional cycling team.
“And that is really how it started. The idea was discussed between myself and Leigh Bryan, who is our head of performance. We thought we’d research it, give it a go, see who we could get on board and it just snowballed from there. And we are where we are now.”
And the team have already started to make their mark with Larry Warbasse winning the teams first ever stage win at the Tour de Suisse earlier this month
Delaney made his name in alcohol distribution through which allowed him to live a life of luxury in Monaco, however a passion for cycling led him to launch Aqua Blue Sport. The team is drawn together from World Tour-level riders, such as former track world champion Martyn Irvine, past Irish national road race and time trial champion Matt Brammeier and team captain Lars Petter Nordhaug a Norwegian who has competed with Team Sky the past 2 seasons winning the Tour de Yorkshire in 2015 and the WorldTour GP de Montreal event. There is also a selection of exciting young riders such as Larry Warbasse, who as previously mentioned won their first stage event.
The timing has been perfect as IAM Cycling and Team Tinkoff, two WorldTour squads are stopping at the end of the season meaning that there is a surplus of riders leaving Aqua Blue Sport in a very strong position. Delaney has stated that there will be one marquee signing.
It’s a very exciting time for Irish cycling.
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