The Aqua Blue Sport team have said they will fold at the end of the season, citing difficulties in obtaining invitations from race organisers and a failed merger with the Veranda’s Willems Crelan team. The Irish squad issued an announcement on Monday morning saying their “on road ambitions” had come to an “unfortunate end” but that they will continue to grow the Aqua Blue Sport online shop in a bid to return to the peloton “some time in the future”.
The Aqua Blue Sport team was created at the start of 2017, with the online shop designed to form the basis of ‘the world’s first self-sustained pro cycling team’. Funding for the team was meant to secure their future for four seasons with two-year rolling contracts offered to the riders.
The Irish ProContinental team, which was established by Cork businessman Rick Delaney, have confirmed today that they will not be seeking a professional licence for 2019.
The team was launched for the 2017 season with the ambition of becoming the first sustainable team, with profits from their online cycling marketplace going to fund the road team. Delaney had planned to fund the team for the first two seasons, and spent €7 million of his own money, but admitted earlier this year that the business side of the operation had not matched their own expectations.
Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) took his first ever victory at the Vuelta a Espana, beating Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) to win in Alhaurin de la Torre on stage 3. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished just behind the Italian pair to take third place.
Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) finished in the bunch to keep his red jersey and maintain his 14-second lead over Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) with the rest of the top 10 remaining the same.
Elia Viviani sprinted to victory in stage three of the Vuelta a Espana on Monday, holding off Italian compatriot Giacomo Nizzolo, as Michal Kwiatkowski retained the red jersey.
Quick-Step Floors rider Viviani recorded victory in what was the 1,500th stage in the race’s history, after being launched by team mate Michael Morkov in a chaotic finale at frantic pace.
Bora-Hansgrohe’s Peter Sagan took third behind Trek-Segafredo’s Nizzolo with French rider Nacer Bouhanni in fourth.
Up-and-coming Colombian climbing talent Ivan Sosa will step up to the WorldTour next year after signing with Trek-Segafredo for the next two seasons. He is the second major signing for the team after they confirmed Grand Tour rider Richie Porte last week.
“I am a man of few words, but I am really, very happy to join Trek-Segafredo as of next year. I have always wanted to race on the highest level, in the WorldTour,” Sosa said in a team press release. “I believe that’s a goal for every young professional cyclist. So, I am very motivated to race in the WorldTour in 2019. I believe Trek-Segafredo is the perfect team for me, to keep growing and learning. I hope to get some really good results for this team in the years to come.”
The Izagirre brothers have been racing together for the Bahrain-Merida team over the past season, with Gorka joining his younger brother Ion, who had joined the team a year earlier.
It was already widely known that the brothers would be leaving the team at the end of the season, and Cyclingnews revealed earlier this month that they were considering offers from Astana and UAE Team Emirates.
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