Conor Dunne, left, will; realise a dream when he rides for Professional Continental team Aqua Blue Sport. The 24-year old will begin his season at the Cadel Evans Ocean Race on January 29th.
By Brian Canty
Conor Dunne is one of three Irish riders in the Aqua Blue Sport team for 2017 and he gets his season underway in a few short weeks in Australia.
The former An Post Rás stage winner and yellow jersey wearer will line up alongside fellow Irish men Matt Brammeier and Martyn Irvine in the ProConti ranks in 2017 and he said he can’t wait to get “stuck in”.
Dunne, who rode for JLT-Condor Cycles in 2016, said his role in the team will be helping with the lead-outs while also doing what he does best, getting in the breakaways.
“I’m obviously really excited to be here in this team,” he said just before the New Year and his new team was about to get underway.
“It struck me as such an interesting project from the very start and I’m proud to be involved.
“The step-up to bigger races is also a massive motivator and an aspect I’m really looking forward to.”
Winning the Rutland-Melton International CiCLEClassic (1.2) back in April; Dunne will surprise a few people in the year ahead if he gets even a tiny bit of luck every rider needs to be a success (Photo: Larry Hickmott – VeloUK.net)
It’s been a career full of ups and downs for Dunne but he always believed he’d get to this point.
In 2015 he rode a stunning Tour of Britain, as well as being selected for the World Championships in the USA alongside Sam Bennett.
His selection there was not only as a result of his ride in Britain but a fantastic second half of the season when he was aggressive in a huge number of races and really showed he was still developing at a great rate.
“I’m proud of myself for getting here, to be honest,” he said of the level his career has continued to edge towards.
“I love the sport and enjoy getting stuck into it all, so it’s great to feel I’m making progress.
“I couldn’t have got here without the support of all my friends and family, though.”
One man he reserved special mention for was his late uncle who died tragically last year.
“Hopefully I made uncle Rog proud and I know he will be laughing down at me when the crosswind hits!
“I guess I’m more excited than nervous,” continued Dunne. “Although if I think about it too much admittedly I do feel the nerves!
“It’s going on be a jump up for sure and there is so much more I need to learn and improve on. I’m just going to try and do my best, enjoy it and get stuck in.”
As for his role he said: “I’d really like to try and do a good job in the lead-outs.
“I feel lucky to be surrounded by such experienced teammates in that area, so I’m just going to try listen and do my best to be really useful.
“Then maybe if any opportunities arise for myself; I’ll definitely try to make the most of it.”