AQUA BLUE SPORT NAME THREE NATIONAL CHAMPIONS PAST AND PRESENT IN STRONG OVO ENERGY TOUR OF BRITAIN SQUAD
National champions past and present Adam Blythe, Conor Dunne and Larry Warbasse feature in Aqua Blue Sport’s strong line-up for their debut OVO Energy Tour of Britain, which begins in Carmarthenshire, Wales on Sunday 2 September.
The Irish team, who have already won stages of the Vuelta a Espana, Tour de Suisse and Tour of Denmark, have also selected Mark Christian, Eddie Dunbar and Casper Pedersen as they target success on several fronts during the eight-day race.
Dane Nicki Sørensen, who finished eleventh in the first edition of the modern Tour of Britain in 2004, will manage the team.
Yorkshireman Blythe, who won the British Road Race title in 2016, will ride his third edition of his home tour in September. One of the fastest sprinters in the peloton, he famously won the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic one-day race on The Mall – barely 500m away from where the Tour of Britain ends on Sunday 9 September – in 2014. Earlier in August, the 28-year-old represented Great Britain at the European Championships in Glasgow.
“I’m super happy to have been picked to compete in the 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain,” Blythe commented. “It’s been a couple of years since I last took part in the race and I’m very excited to be able to return.
“I think that the team we have for the race is a very strong selection that will enable us to specifically focus on targeting stage wins. Our intention in the race will be to make the most of our opportunities, to enjoy the experience, to get the best out of each other and to try to win a stage.”
Like Blythe, reigning Irish champion Conor Dunne returns to the race after a two-year absence. He wore the Eisberg Sprints jersey for one day in the 2015 edition, and became popular with home crowds thanks to his combative appearances in multiple breakaways since his Tour of Britain debut. Dunne will be easily recognisable in the race: his Irish champion’s jersey is notable for its striking white base; green band and subtle shamrock detail; and the iconic gold chevron of Aqua Blue Sport.
“Racing in the jersey of the Irish National Road Race champion will be extra special for me,”Dunne said. “It’s one of the biggest races in the calendar close to Irish soil, so you always get a lot of home support – and it’s also nice to be racing in the same time zone as your friends and family!
“I’ve had this race in my sights for a while now and hope to ride aggressively and show myself well in the Irish colours. We’ve got a strong team going to the OVO Energy Tour of Britain and I will be support the boys in every way I can so that we come away with a good result.”
Alongside Pedersen, Warbasse will make his OVO Energy Tour of Britain in September. The 28-year-old, who comes from Traverse City, Michigan, memorably won the American National Championships last year. A three-time Vuelta a Espana finisher, he took the biggest (and first) victory of his professional career on Stage Four of the 2017 Tour de Suisse.
Manxman Christian is a Tour of Britain regular, notably placing 12th overall two years ago, while the highly-rated Irish neo-pro Dunbar last competed in 2015.
Online cycling marketplace Aqua Blue Sport’s role in the race extends beyond their talented competing team: they are also the Official Digital Partner of the Tour of Britain, Tour Series and Women’s Tour. For more information, visit www.aquabluesport.com.
Race Director Mick Bennett said: “Aqua Blue Sport have already made a huge impact in the world of cycling; not only with their fledgling UCI ProContinental team, but their revolutionary online marketplace.
“We’re thrilled to have them on board as Official Digital Partner of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain, as well as competing in this year’s race. With their strong line-up featuring riders who can challenge across all eight stages, their debut participation could prove to be extremely memorable.”