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Update: Sniper Cycling deny sale to Aqua Blue Sport

Joe Robinson
2 Aug 2018

Contradicting press releases see Sniper Cycling deny sale to Aqua Blue Sport

Aqua Blue Sport yesterday announced the acquisition of Sniper Cycling (Verandas Willems-Crelan) and marquee rider, multiple cyclocross World Champion, Wout van Aert via a press release and on its brand website. Yet in a bizarre turn, Sniper Cycling have released a conflicting statement saying that the deal has not happened.

In a tweet last night, Sniper Cycling commented, 'We dissociate ourselves expressly from all communication that has been published today regarding the supposed acquisition of our team by Aqua Blue Sport.'

The team then went on to confirm that both parties had been in conversation regarding the sale and collaboration but nothing had been confirmed.

The Belgian ProContinental team ended their statement by writing, 'Out of respect to all parties involved, we will currently refrain from further comments.'

Contradicting latest reports, the Irish team confirmed its purchase in a press release yesterday stating that the addition of the Belgian based team was 'in a move designed to broaden the reach of its online cycling marketplace.'

Aqua Blue Sport is an online multi-retailer e-commerce marketplace that funds the team through its profit and personal investment from team owner Rick Delaney.

The press release even contained a statment from owner Delaney on the purchase and his excitement to work with Van Aert and Sniper Cycling team manager Nick Nuyens.

The release quoted Delaney as saying 'This is a golden opportunity to expand our project internationally, and increase our audience for the ecommerce project.

'I am delighted with this project’s success to date, on and off the road, and the opportunity to acquire Sniper Cycling was a no-brainer for us.'

It then also included Sniper Cycling's own Nuyens adding, 'Aqua Blue Sport is going from strength to strength, on the road and also off it. I am very excited to be able to be involved in the team going forward.

'There is a lot of potential, and it is a dream for me to be working with the riders that are already there, and will be joining soon. It’s a good day for Sniper Cycling and Aqua Blue Sport.'

This purchase announcment came out of the blue. There had been talk of Aqua Blue Sport increasing its budget, with even Richie Porte linked with a move at one time, but not of the acquisition of a fellow team.

These rumours were a direct effect of being left out of all three Grand Tours and at least three of the five Monuments this season, something that Delaney felt particularly aggrieved by.

It seems that while the two parties were in conversation regarding a merger, Aqua Blue Sport jumped the gun with its announcement, an error that could potentially put the entire deal in jeopardy.

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