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Eddie Dunbar joins Team Sky with immediate effect

Young Irishman secures move to Team Sky from defunct Aqua Blue Sport

Joe Robinson
13 Sep 2018

Team Sky have made their first move in this year's transfer market signing young Irish talent Eddie Dunbar from the disbanded Aqua Blue Sport with immediate effect.

Dunbar will be thrust into the thick of the action immediately, with the team announcing that he will make his Team Sky debut at the one-day Coppa Agostoni race in Italy on Saturday.

The 22-year old has signed a deal that will take him through to the end of the 2019 season, a lifeline for the young talent after he was left without a team due to the rapid demise of Aqua Blue Sport.

Despite Dunbar technically still being contracted to the Irish squad, the UCI granted special permission for the rider to move teams considering the circumstances.

Aqua Blue Sport announced their decision to disband as a professional team with immediate effect last month. The team announced on their Twitter page that they would not reapply for a ProContinental license for 2019, leaving 15 riders and its staff base without a job for next season. 

It was alleged that the reason for the team's decision was its relationship with bike provider 3T and the use of its 1x-specific Strada bike. 

Dunbar's move to a bigger team should come as no surprise considering the eye-catching season he has had, including stand-out performances at the Tour de Yorkshire and Tour de l'Avenir. 

Commenting on the move, Dunbar spoke of his relief at getting back on the saddle and said it was perfectly timed ahead of the World Championships later this month.

'I’m really grateful for the opportunity I’m getting after the situation I’ve found myself in. Sometimes a team folding is the way the sport goes. I just had to be professional about it and understand the situation.

'Luckily Sky came along and they offered me a block of Italian races which is good preparation for Innsbruck,' said Dunbar.

'It’s all fallen into place for me - and I can’t wait to get started now.'

Sky principal Dave Brailsford also commented on the move, citing Dunbar's climbing potential as a good fit for the British WorldTour team.

Eddie is a talented young rider and we’re delighted he’s agreed to join us,' said Brailsford adding, 'Obviously the circumstances, with Aqua Blue folding, aren’t ideal for anyone at the team, or the sport in general. You never like to see teams go through something like that.

'But we’re pleased to be able to offer Eddie an immediate route back in with Team Sky. We have been watching him for a while and it’s clear that he has great potential.

'He particularly impressed at the Tour de Yorkshire and Tour de l’Avenir this year and we hope he can build on those performances with us.'