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Aqua Blue Sport owner publicly criticises team's 3T Strada bike for 'costing results'

Joe Robinson
15 Jun 2018

Teething problems for 1x specific bike continue at the Tour de Suisse with multiple mechanicals

The partnership between Irish ProContinental team Aqua Blue Sport and bike sponsor 3T seems to have hit the rocks as team owner Rick Delaney publicly criticised the 1x specific 3T Strada after issues experienced at the ongoing Tour de Suisse.

Aqua Blue Sport rider Mark Christian had been in yesterday's Stage 6 breakaway en route to Gommiswald. However, the Isle of Man rider suffered a mechanical in the closing stages ruling him out of contention for the win, which was eventually taken by break compatriot Soren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb).

This mechanical prompted team owner and founder Rick Delaney, who was in the team car behind, to take to twitter in criticism of the 3T Strada bikes used by the team.

The outspoken Irishman was clearly angry with the bikes being used writing, 'Just want to say what a privilege it was to be behind @MarkChristian8 today @tds so so strong., only to be dropped by mechanical no 4698 this season.

'This lab rat thing is now costing results.' Delaney didn't name the bike or its manufacturer directly, but the implication is clear.

Christian himself also took to twitter mentioning his frustration with the mechanical although staying calmer than his team owner, probably helped by the consolation of taking the mountains classification jersey.

Christian wrote 'Mixed emotions today - devastated to lose a stage result through a bike mechanical... but a nice consolation to come away with the King of the Mountains jersey.'

He then echoed these concerns on the Aqua Blue Sport team website saying, 'I am absolutely devastated about how today’s stage went.

'On reflection, if I can seal the mountains classification in the next couple of days I will be happy with that, but at the moment it seems like small consolation.

'To be within touching distance of a result - I don’t know what it might have been, but guaranteed top seven or eight - and to have been let down by the bike... I’m absolutely gutted.'

The use of the 1x specific Strada in the professional peloton was immediately met with scepticism from some when announced earlier this season.

Many believed that the limitations of just one speed at the front would hamper riders' gear choices, leaving them potentially over or under-geared for certain races.

While these concerns have not come into fruition, it is clear that the bike has experienced teething problems of a different kind, mainly through mechanical issues.

Add this to the fact that 3T also do not manufacture a time trial bike, with Aqua Blue reverting back to their old 2017 Ridley Dean models at last month's Baloise Belgium Tour, it appears that 3T's time in the professional peloton could be limited for now.

For Delaney and his men, this just adds to the woes of their season. Beyond the bike issues, Aqua Blue Sport have struggled to secure invites to the biggest races in the calendar, with the Tour de Suisse and Liege-Bastogne-Liege their only races of note.

Despite an impressive ride at the 2017 Vuelta a Espana, including a stage win for Stefan Denifl, they were unable to gain invites to any of the three Grand Tours, being overlooked by home-based teams on all instances. 

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