Huge blow as Aqua Blue Sport team will not continue next year

Posted on: August 27th, 2018

Aqua Blue Sport has run into serious problems and has pulled the plug, for next year at any rate. While there is hope expressed they can return at some point, it is not clear how or when that could happen. Conor Dunne buried himself in the Vuelta last year to survive. Aqua Blue Sport also won a stage, but now it is was not asked back to the race (Photo: Karen M Edwards)


Aqua Blue Sport will opt out at end of 2018 season


The Aqua Blue Sport cycling team has announced this morning it will not exist next year.

It released a statement confirming the news. And while an aspiration to return to the sport at some point is included in that statement, there is no return date set.

The team, now in its second year, had hoped to merge with or take over Veranda’s Willems Crelan, the Belgian cycling team.

However, those talks have now ended. There will be no merged entity. And sadly Aqua Blue Sport is not in a financial position to continue under its own steam next year.

The news is body blow for Irish cycling at a time when many races on the home scene are struggling for sponsorship.

The team currently employs a group of riders that includes Irishmen Eddie Dunbar and Irish national champion Conor Dunne.

Former world champion on the track, Martyn Irvine, is also currently working as a directeur for the team.

Many of the backroom and management staff are also Irish and the team is owned by Cork-businessman Rick Delaney.



Rick Delaney was the driving force behind the team. And he was very unlucky to have a bad crash out training recently.

It left it with severe injuries at precisely the time he was fighting to keep the team alive.

The statement released this morning began by stating it would not apply for a UCI ProContinental licence for next year.

“We, Aqua Blue Sport, started this project over two years ago with huge ambition, gusto and optimism that we could actually make a difference,” the statement added.

“This year we have found it increasingly difficult to obtain race invitations and recognition from race organisers in how unique and how well supported our project should be.

“Aqua Blue Sport cycling team have been negotiating tirelessly with another Pro Continental team regarding an acquisition/partnership.

“Over the past weeks we had formed the basis of an agreement many times, but unfortunately common sense did not prevail.

“We believed on numerous occasions that the deal was so far advanced that it was a foregone conclusion that a partnership would be achieved.

“Today, August 27, 2018, we now find ourselves in a position where we can categorically state that all negotiations have been terminated.

“We are extremely proud of our achievements over the past two seasons and made history in being Ireland’s first professional cycling team, first Irish team to participate in a Grand Tour and first Irish team to win a stage at a Grand Tour.

“We have had the pleasure of making many friends on the journey. I guess it’s fair to say that we have made some fundamental mistakes, and errors of judgement, ultimately bringing our ‘on road’ ambitions to an unfortunate end.

“We are, of course, not going to give up with our passion of becoming a sustainable cycling team and will continue to grow and develop our e-commerce platform to enable us to return to the road unshackled sometime in the future.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who have supported both our e-commerce website and our cycling team.”