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Aqua Blue Sport invited to race the 2017 Vuelta a Espana

Joseph Delves
27 Mar 2017

Wildcard call up means Aqua Blue Sport will be the first Irish squad to race a Grand To

Ireland's first UCI Professional Continental cycling team, Aqua Blue Sport, have scored a coveted place at the Vuelta a España. In securing the wildcard entry the Cork based squad looks set to become the first ever Irish team to compete in one of cycling’s Grand Tours. Their invite comes on the back of solid results from star rider Adam Blythe at the recent Handzame Classic and Nokere Koerse.

Having already secured another wild card entry to the one week Tour de Suisse, it’s shaping up to be a fantastic first year for the young squad.

While many would have thought their stated aim of competing at the Tour de France within four years incredibly ambitious, with their trip to Spain booked, Aqua Blue's goal is a lot closer today than it was yesterday.

Team owner Rick Delaney described learning of their place as 'an emotional moment'.

He said, 'Three months into our first season we have a Grand Tour invite. I believe it’s very important to dream and this is evidence that dreams do come true.

'We’re delighted and humbled to have received this incredible honour so early in our time.

'The Vuelta is a fantastic and historic event, for Aqua Blue Sport to be there is a fantastic achievement for such a young team,' he added.

While competing in the searing heat of Spain's notoriously hilly Grand Tour will be an abrupt introduction to three week Grand Tour racing, fans can see how the squad are shaping up at the likely cooler Tour de Yorkshire next month.

Along with Spanish outfit Caja Rural-Seguros and perpetual wildcard winners Cofidis they’ll join the Columbian Manzana Postobon team to compete against the 18 UCI WorldTour squads later this summer.

Vuelta a España 2017 start list

WorldTour teams

Ag2r La Mondiale (Fra)
Astana Pro Team (Kaz)
Bahrain-Merida (Brn)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Bora–Hansgrohe (Ger)
Cannondale-Drapac (USA)
FDJ (Fra)
Lotto-Soudal (Bel)
Movistar Team (Eep)
Orica-Scott (Aus)
Quick-Step Floors (Bel)
Team Dimension Data (RSA)
Team Katusha-Alpecin (Sui)
Team Lotto NL-Jumbo (Ned)
Team Sky (GBr)
Team Sunweb (Ger)
Trek–Segafredo (USA)
UAE Abu Dhabi (UAE)

Wildcard teams

Aqua Blue Sport (Irl)
Cofidis (Fra)
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA (Esp)
Manzana Postobon Team (Col)

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