New Irish pro team Aqua Blue Sport unveils its first four riders

Posted on: October 3rd, 2016

WorldTour riders – including those who have ridden with Team Sky – are among the first signings announced by the new Irish pro team Aqua Blue Sport.


Having signalled just a few months ago it was in the planning stages and set on joining the pro ranks in 2017, Team Aqua Blue Sport has unveiled its first four riders.

And three of them are Irish including Martyn Irvine, Conor Dunne and Matt Brammeier.

That trio is joined by Team Sky rider Lars Petter Nordhaug who will lead the new Aqua Blue Sport ProContinental team.

And there was more great news for the Irish after it emerged that Tim Barry and Stephen Barrett are key members of the staff who will seek to mould the team into a winning outfit in the international peloton.

Barry is a former international rider who has been managing the Aqua Blue domestic outfit.

And he now gets a fantastic opportunity to take his experience and street smarts into the pro peloton.

The Corkman has been named as sporting director at the team.

And Stephen Barrett, also a former international Irish rider, has been signed up as director of athletic performance.

Another Irish face in the team is Dr Alan Farrell who worked as a doctor with Team Sky in the past. He will take on that same role with Aqua Blue Sport.

Director of performance operations is Leigh Bryan and former pro rider Nicki Sørensen – who rode for Tinkoff Saxo in the past and has won Grand Tour stages – will be a sporting director alongside Barry.

Another Irishman, Stephen Moore, will serve as general manager; pushing the whole project forward with the rest of the team.

The whole operation is the brainchild and project of Rick Delaney, a well known international businessman originally from Cork who is the key investor behind the project.

Delaney has guaranteed the team his financial backing for four years and in that time it has very ambitious plans.

Its ultimate goal is to participate at a World Tour level by year four and compete in the Tour de France.

However, for now its sights are firmly set on the 2017 ProContinental season which so far includes Milan-San Remo, Amstel Gold and the Tour of Britain.

Team Aqua Blue Sport has also been invited to attend the launch of the 2017 Tour de France by event organisers ASO.

Said Delaney: “I fell in love with cycling decades ago so this is a personal passion of mine.

“By removing the financial insecurity so often associated with cycling teams, my hope is to create a team environment that will see athletes thrive, and in turn positively impact on performances.”

Of the riders signed, Brammeier is a four-time national Irish road champion and has ridden at WorldTour level, including for his current employer Dimension Data and previously at HTC Highroad in the early part of his career.

Irvine is a track Olympian and former track world champion and he is making a return to cycling after a brief period in retirement.

Irish cycling fans and the Irish racing community will be delighted to see him back on the road and competing in the peloton once again.

Conor Dunne is, like Irvine, a former Rás stage winner and is currently riding for JLT Condor, a UK-based Continental level team.

He also spent a number of years with An Post-Chainreaction and has ridden for Ireland at U23 and elite level on the road, including in last year’s elite road race at the World Road Championships in the US.

Lars Peter Nordhaug is a 32-year-old from Norway who currently rides with Team Sky and also rode for it in the 2010-2012 period.

He has won many pro races including the first ever stage and first overall title at the Tour de Yorkshire last year.