Matt Brammeier and the other riders in Aqua Blue Sport are to donate a portion of their prize money to a fund that aims to support young Irish cyclists (Photo: Aqua Blue Sport-Karen Edwards)
Just ahead of its racing debut in Australia, Ireland’s new ProContinental team Aqua Blue Sport has added its support to the Emerald Fund.
The team has decided to donate five per cent of the prize money it wins this year to the Emerald Fund, which offers financial support to young Irish cyclists looking to compete abroad.
The fund was set up two years ago with a view to offering the kind of assistance to Irish young hopefuls that has long been offered in the UK by the Dave Rayner Fund.
The Emerald Fund last year supported its first group of young Irish riders and is set to announce the names of those who will receive funding from it through the coming campaign.
Aqua Blue Sport team owner, Rick Delaney, said the decision to donate some of the prize money to the fund was in keeping with its commitment to playing a role in developing Irish cycling.
“It is a goal of Aqua Blue Sport to encourage and inspire the next generation of Irish cyclists and it’s important for Irish cycling that we have more Irish riders competing at an international level,” Delaney said.
“Aqua Blue Sport is delighted to contribute 5 per cent of its prize money for the 2017 racing season to the Emerald Fund, and we are additionally proud to continue our support of the Irish domestic racing scene through our ongoing support of the amateur Aqua Blue Sport Academy team.”
David O’Connell of the Emerald Fund said Aqua Blue Sport’s backing was not only about the money; he was delighted to have the support of the pro riders.
“I am thrilled that the riders of Aqua Blue Sport will be donating 5 per cent of their prize money during the 2017,” he said.
“For us, it’s not only about the financial assistance but about what it will do to benefit Irish cycling in general.
“The support of these professional riders, who are on the international stage, is fantastic for us.”
And Matt Brammeier of the Aqua Blue Support said that having been backed by the Dave Rayner Fund when he was younger he understood the value of the contribution made by the Emerald Fund.
“I wouldn’t have been able to continue competing at an elite level was it not for the support from the (Dave Rayner) fund,” Brammeier said.
“They allowed me to compete at an international level. The Emerald Fund supports young cyclists in a similar way and is a stepping stone for young Irish riders to achieve bigger and better things.”
Aqua Blue Sport rides the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Australia on January 29th followed by the Jayco Herald Sun Tour from February 1st to 5th.