Aqua Blue Sport receive Vuelta a Espana wildcard - Road Cycling UK

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Aqua Blue Sport receive Vuelta a Espana wildcard

Irish UCI ProContinental team set for Nimes startline in August

Aqua Blue Sport will become the first Irish professional cycling team to ride a Grand Tour after receiving an invite to the Vuelta a Espana.

The new UCI ProContinental team, for whom British champion Adam Blythe has twice been on the podium in one-day semi-Classics this season, have already developed a reputation as an attacking team in their debut season.

And that has been rewarded with a place on the startline for the season’s final Grand Tour, which starts in Nimes, France, on August 19.

Aqua Blue Sport, who boast British champion Adam Blythe in their number, will make their Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a Espana (pic: Aqua Blue Sport)

Alongside the 18 UCI WorldTour teams, Aqua Blue Sport will join Vuelta regulars Cofidis and Caja-Rural on the Nimes startline, alongside Colombian outfit Manzana Postobon.

Team owner Rick Delaney called the invite proof that dreams come true, adding: “We are delighted and humbled to have received this incredible honour so early in our time.

“I want to extend my gratitude to the organisers for placing their faith in our team – we are all looking forward to getting there to the start line in Nimes.”

The inclusion of Aqua Blue Sport could mean up to four British riders added to the startlist, of whom only Andy Fenn has previously started the race, in 2013.

Blythe has raced the Giro d’Italia three times, but Dan Pearson and Mark Christian have never raced a Grand Tour, and nor have the team’s three Irishmen, Matt Brammeier, Conor Dunne and Martyn Irvine.

It is the team’s latest major invite in their debut season, with them having already been selected for La Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour de Suisse.

They are next in action at the Three Days of De Panne, where British champion Blythe will lead the team.

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