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Aqua Blue Sport owner hits out at Tour of California exclusion

Joe Robinson
6 Apr 2018

Team fails to secure wildcard selection despite having US national champion

Aqua Blue Sport owner Rick Delaney has hit out at the Tour of California for failing to give his team a wildcard spot despite having the US national road champion.

The Irish businessman-turned-team owner took a swipe at race organisers via his twitter page claiming that 'complete disrespect' had been shown 'to the jersey and Larry (Warbasse) and all it represents'. 

Delaney also stated that he believes the race does not value the importance of the jersey. Larry Warbasse is the current road race champion of America however will not be present at his home nation's biggest race due to this decision.

The Tour of California announced its teams earlier in the week. Beyond the 13 WorldTour teams present, organisers opted to invite four American-based ProContinental teams therefore overlooking Aqua Blue Sport.

Since making the jump to WorldTour status, the requirements for racing America's biggest race have grown hence the move of small teams like Hagens Berman Axeon and Holowesko-Citadel making the leap up from Continental level.

However this latest admission will be another kick in the teeth for a team that has largely been ignored for the big races in the calendar.

It was long rumoured that the team would be present at the Giro d'Italia yet were overlooked with race organisers opting to invite more home-based squads as well as the Israel Cycling Academy due to the race's start in Jerusalem.

The team is also expected to not be invited back to the Vuelta a Espana in August despite racing the event last year and taking a stage victory. It is believed that the three-week Grand Tour is leaning towards offering three Spanish ProContinental teams -Burgos-BH, Caja Rural and Euskadi Basque Country-Murias - spots instead. 

The fourth wildcard spot will undoubtedly go to French team Cofidis who are among one of the major sponsors of the race.

Aqua Blue Sport will be present at Liege-Bastogne-Liege later this month although have not been present at the first three Monuments of the year.

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