British champion Adam Blythe signs for new Aqua Blue Sport team for 2017 - Road Cycling UK

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British champion Adam Blythe signs for new Aqua Blue Sport team for 2017

Andy Fenn, Mark Christian and Dan Pearson complete quartet of Brits heading to Irish ProConti team

British champion Adam Blythe will join new Irish UCI ProContinental team Aqua Blue Sport for the 2017 season, alongside a host of fellow Brits.

The new team, backed by Irish businessman Rick Delaney, had already confirmed 11 of their riders for their inaugural season, for which they have applied for a second-tier licence from cycling’s governing body.

British champion Adam Blythe and Team Sky’s Andy Fenn will both join Aqua Blue Sport for 2017 (pic: Allan McKenzie/SWPix.com)

And Blythe – whose current Tinkoff team are folding at the end of this year – is one of five riders added to that list, taking the final tally to a 16-man squad for 2017.

Blythe will join fellow Brits Andy Fenn (Team Sky), Mark Christian and Dan Pearson (Team Wiggins) in making the switch, while IAM Cycling’s Larry Warbasse completes the roster.

Since beating Mark Cavendish to claim his first national title, Blythe has seen more action with the British national team than with Tinkoff, including finishing 12th in the world road race after he and Cavendish got in the race-winning move.

And the 27-year-old hopes the move to the new Irish team will allow him to fulfil his personal ambitions next season.

“Signing with Aqua Blue Sport offers me a great opportunity to get the most out of myself in 2017, and to have the support to be able to do that,” he said.

“My goal for next season is to win bike races. It is exciting to get young and hungry guys behind you, and to be on a smaller team where you are all trying to get the most out of each other in every race you are competing in.”

It will be Blythe’s fifth team in five seasons, and mark the second time the Yorkshireman has stepped down from WorldTour level in that time, having enjoyed success with NFTO in 2014.

Fenn, meanwhile, joins after two seasons as a domestique with Team Sky, with the team hoping the 26-year-old Scot will bolster their options for the Classics.

Manxman Mark Christian, 25, joins having finished 12th at this year’s Tour of Britain, meanwhile, and is joined in switching from Team Wiggins by Dan Pearson, who was 11th at this month’s Abu Dhabi Tour – the highest British finisher overall.

Daniel Pearson has also been confirmed, fresh from his 11th place finish at the Abu Dhabi Tour last week (pic: Sirotti)

The quartet will be the only Brits on the roster, which is led by Norway’s Lars-Petter Nordhaug, who is leaving Team Sky for a second time this winter.

However, three Irish riders – 31-year-old Matt Brammeier (Dimension Data), JLT-Condor’s giant 24-year-old Conor Dunne, and former track world champion Martyn Irvine, 31 – are also all on board.

Aqua Blue Sport: 2017 roster

Lars Petter Nordhaug (NOR) – from Team Sky
Adam Blythe (GBR) – from Tinkoff
Mark Christian (GBR) – from Team Wiggins
Andrew Fenn (GBR) – from Team Sky
Daniel Pearson (GBR) – from Team Wiggins
Matt Brammeier (IRL) – from Dimension Data
Conor Dunne (IRL) – from JLT-Condor
Martyn Irvine (IRL)
Stefan Denifl (AUT) – from IAM Cycling
Aaron Gate (NZL) – from An Post-Chain Reaction
Lasse Norman Hansen (DEN) – from Stolting Service Group
Leigh Howard (AUS) – from IAM Cycling
Peter Koning (NED) – from Drapac
Michel Kreder (NED) – from Roompot-Oranje Peloton
Larry Warbasse (USA) – from IAM Cycling
Calvin Watson (AUS) – from An Post-Chain Reaction

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