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Adam Blythe moves to Lotto-Soudal in career lifeline

The 28-year-old Brit manages to reverse Aqua Blue bad fortune with move back to WorldTour

Joe Robinson
17 Sep 2018

Adam Blythe has been offered a career lifeline as he signs for Belgian WorldTour team Lotto Soudal for the 2019 season. Blythe was one of 15 riders to find themselves suddenly without a team following the immediate decision of Aqua Blue Sport to shut down the ProContinental squad.

Announced via its Twitter page, the Irish team confirmed that it would not reapply for its ProContinental licence in 2019 citing a lack of wildcard invitations to WorldTour racing and a volatile relationship with bike provider 3T.

Things then deteriorated with the team announcing it would not be attending any more races in 2018 and that all riders were out of contract with immediate effect.

So late in the season, riders were left with the difficult task of securing new contracts despite most teams having full rosters for 2019.

Some managed to find new teams, notably Eddie Dunbar and Larry Warbasse who have signed for Team Sky and AG2R La Mondiale, respectively, with Blythe the most recent to join this duo.

The 28-year-old will now return to the team in which he started his professional career with eight years ago as one of the key components to fellow new signing Caleb Ewan's sprint train, while also bolstering the team's Spring Classics squad, something that Blythe is looking forward to.

'At the age of twenty, I did an internship at Lotto-Soudal – Omega Pharma-Lotto back then and was able to join the WorldTour team afterwards,' said Blythe.

'I’m really excited to return to the Belgian team and it’s definitely a real privilege to be racing for this renowned cycling team once again.

'I’m looking forward to helping Caleb Ewan in winning as many races as possible. Bringing Caleb in the best position to sprint, will be my main role this coming season.

'Besides my role in Ewan’s lead-out, Lotto-Soudal can also count on my support in the Classics. Even though I didn’t ride a complete Classics season for the last two years, I did ride those races many times before during my time at the other WorldTour teams.

'Next season will be my ninth year as a professional cyclist and through the years, I was able to gain a lot of experience - also in the Classics.'

Blythe failed to mention his experience with Aqua Blue Sport in the release despite the rider being one of the most outspoken riders on the team's failings.

The 28-year-old criticised Aqua Blue Sport's use of the 3T Strada bike, labelling it a 'track bike with gears' and one of the worst bikes he has ever ridden.

He also cited the use of the 1x specific bike and the continuous mechanical issues as the primary reason for Aqua Blue missing out on major results throughout the season. 

This caused controversy, with some criticising Blythe's comments for their lasting damage to the 3T brand, but ultimately proved the deep-lying issues that existed in the Irish team. 

Blythe will now have the chance to reverse his fortunes with one of the peloton's most established teams as they look to build a team around the young talent of Ewan, Tim Wellens and Tiesj Benoot. 

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