Aqua Blue Sport Sends Multifaceted Team to Vuelta a Espana
The Aqua Blue Sport team this week announced a balanced and multifaceted roster for its first Grand Tour.
The team has selected both solid sprinters and strong climbers to create a balanced team, which it hopes will be able to fight for good results in both sprint stages and mountain finishes.
The team roster includes Adam Blythe, Mark Christian, Conor Dunne, Aaron Gate, Peter Koning, Michel Kreder, Lasse Norman Hansen, Larry Warbasse, and Stefan Denifl.
For team owner Rick Delaney the Vuelta participation is a dream come true.
"All of us here at Aqua Blue Sport are incredibly excited to be part of this fantastic event. We dreamed at the start of the year that we would get a start in a Grand Tour - to think that has come to fruition is extraordinary," Delaney said. "The team we are sending is a very strong and solid team with riders who can compete in all terrain. We are looking forward to see Aqua Blue Sport out on the roads and who knows, we might just pull off the ultimate dream – a stage win."
Larry Warbasse has won a stage at the 2017 Tour de Suisse and also won the United States Road Race Championships. Austrian Stefan Denifl was the overall winner of this year's Tour of Austria.
"The Vuelta is our team's first Grand Tour and even in the first year of the team. Our team will focus on the few sprint stages and also work our magic in the breakaway groups. We want to sell us and our sponsors as well as possible," Denifl told Roadcycling.com.
"I must openly confess that the departure from my beloved at home, especially newborn son Xaver, was very difficult. With WhatsApp, Facetime and the like, I hope to be able to cope with almost four weeks away from home - without getting too homesick."
The team also sends British sprinter Adam Blythe, who will focus on the sprint stages looking to break his four second place run this season.
Danish rider Lasse Norman Hansen finished on the podium of the Dwars Door West-Vlaanderen Johan Museeuw Classic and also was the overall winner of the climbers jersey at the Tour de Suisse.
New Zealand's Aaron Gate has taken silver at the World Track Championships in the Omnium.
Irish rider Conor Dunne has secured a number of podium places with most notably a third-place finish at the Irish National Championships. Michel Kreder recently finished on the podium with a third place overall at the Tour of Norway, while Mark Christian has performed well in the general classification role in his first year on the Pro Continental level including seventh at Tour of Yorkshire and 14th in the Baloise Belgium Tour.
The team's time trial specialist Peter Koning will play an important part in the leadout train for Blythe in sprint stages and will take part in breakaways when opportunities arise.