Management changes take place at Irish team Aqua Blue Sport

Posted on: January 4th, 2018

Aqua Blue Sport

Aqua Blue Sport enjoyed a promising campaign in 2017. Its management has seen some departures, and the addition of new faces, during the off-season. It will get its 2018 campaign underway in Australia in three weeks (Photo: Karen M Edwards)


With a very successful opening season completed, Aqua Blue Sport has witnessed some management changes in the off season.

Most notable is the absence of Tim Barry as the new campaign approaches. The Corkman and former top domestic rider has opted to depart.

He had been a directeur sportif, working on a variety of major races including the Vuelta.

Barry, who represented Ireland many times during his competitive years, had taken leave of absence from his job in Ireland.

And stickybottle understands he has now decided to return to that role after an experience-filled year with Aqua Blue Sport.

Another Irishman, Niall O’Connor, has also departed the team. He had worked as a press officer with the squad.

However, like Barry, he has opted to return to Ireland after a year with Aqua Blue Sport.

O’Connor worked as a journalist before joining the team. And he has already resumed that work, based in Dublin.

For 2018, former Danish pro Nicki Sørensen continues as directeur sportif. He is joined by Belgian Bob de Cnodder.

He has held a variety of management roles in pro cycling. Last year he worked as a directeur with Veranda’s Willems-Crelan.

And the previous year had worked with An Post-Chainreaction. He also previously worked with Vacansoleil-DCM.

Martyn Irvine’s new role as directeur sportif for 2018 had been announced some time ago. He came out of retirement to ride for the team last year.

However, that return was hampered by a crash that wiped out most of his season. And he has now switched to a management role.

Irishman Stephen Barrett remains on as head of performance. Aqua Blue Sport has a new performance director in the shape of Kevin Poulton.

The Australian lists his experience as having trained Matt Hayman to Paris-Roubaix victory. He says he has also trained a number of other Grand Tour riders.

Stephen Moore will continue to spearhead the Aqua Blue Sport team as general manager.


Aqua Blue Sport first races in 2018

The team gets its season underway on January 25th at Race Melbourne, won by Sam Bennett last year.

It then takes in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race three days later. That will be a tough test against WorldTour opposition.

The Jayco Herald Sun Tour is next, from January 31st to February 4th.

After its stint in Australia it then rides the Dubai Tour from February 6th to 10th. Staying in the Middle East, it also rides the Tour of Oman from February 13th to 18th.