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Team Wiggins replace Aqua Blue Sport at Tour of Britain

Troubles deepen as Irish team withdraw from Tour of Britain next week; but Team Wiggins will take their place

Troubles for the riders and staff of Aqua Blue Sport have worsened with news that the team has pulled out of the Tour of Britain less than a week before the race starts in Pembrey Country Park, Wales. Taking their place on the start line will be a young squad from Team Wiggins.

Aqua Blue's late notice withdrawal from the race follows the announcement, made via the team's Twitter account, that they would not seek a ProContinental racing licence for 2019.

The riders and staff were only informed the same morning leaving them little time to secure new teams before next season.

Tour of Britain organiser Sweetspot confirmed that Aqua Blue Sport will withdraw from the race, saying, 'Following the news yesterday that the Aqua Blue Sport will not race in 2019, we were informed last night by team management that they would not be able to fulfil their commitment to the upcoming Ovo Energy Tour of Britain.

'We are naturally disappointed at this late decision by the team, and that British fans won’t have the chance to cheer on the likes of Adam Blythe and Mark Christian next week.

'However, we understand the difficult situation that the team is in and respect their decision.'

The organiser finished the statement by wishing luck to all the riders and staff involved with Aqua Blue Sport.

The doors closing at Aqua Blue Sport means that 15 professional riders will be left with little time to find a contract for next season.

This includes the likes of current Irish road race champion Conor Dunne, former US national champion Larry Warbasse and former British champion Blythe.

Entry at the Tour of Britain will have seen six of the team ride eight stages against WorldTour opposition on tough terrain, presenting a final opportunity to show their abilities at the top level.

Team Wiggins join the Tour of Britain start list

Following the news that Aqua Blue Sport have closed early with a sudden withdrawal from the Tour of Britain, Team Wiggins have stepped in to fill the rider slots.

Gabriel Cullaigh, Mark Downey, James Fouché, Tom Pidcock, Matthew Teggart and Joey Walker will take the start line this Sunday, 2nd September, when the race kicks off in Pembrey Country Park, Wales.

Having been overlooked originally, it's fair to expect the Team Wiggins riders will be looking to make a show of their presence by getting in breakaways and pushing for the minor jerseys. A stage win isn't out of the question.

'I'm delighted to have an opportunity to ride in the Tour of Britain with Team Wiggins,' star rider Pidcock said of the news.

'Obviously the team has a strong affiliation with the race, with Sir Brad being a former winner and Owain's impressive ride in 2015.

'I am really looking forward to mixing it up against some of the big UCI WorldTour teams again.

'Riding in front of British fans is always a great experience and hopefully our team can give them plenty to cheer about over the course of the race.'

This will be the team's third participation in the race. In 2015, as referenced by Pidcock, Owain Doull impressed when he finished third overall and won the Points Classification on the way to the podium.