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LukasCPH

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Re: Team Aqua Blue News
« Reply #30 on: October 07, 2016, 21:12 »
1) The bus mystery has been cleared up. They were in the process of buying IAM's bus, but then got outbid at the last minute by Bahrain-Merida! A team with vast money. So instead they are buying the Tinkoff bus.
Yes, I've had this confirmed by Rick Delany via Shane Stokes:
https://twitter.com/SSbike/status/783605367309737984

I like what I'm hearing about the team. A couple of Irishmen, but you're not going to get a pro contract with them just because you're Irish - you have to actually earn it and be on the level. Several riders with WT experience, and ambitions of riding WT races.
Very Nice.[1] :cool
 1. get it?
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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #31 on: October 08, 2016, 18:52 »
    I'm beginning to get the impression that they are setting up quite a different sort of team to the one I'd anticipated.

    I thought at first that they would be a team that would be almost all riders coming up from the Conti level or young prospects, half or more Irish, mostly development focused etc.

    Instead they seem to be aiming to set themselves up as something more like a miniature version of one of the weaker WT teams. No large contingent of Irish Conti level riders, only the few who are definitely good enough and maybe a couple of young prospects.

    Out of interest and bearing in mind we don't know many of the riders yet, which version of the team would you have preferred?

    The lesser quality, but more Irish team or the better more international version?
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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #32 on: October 08, 2016, 22:17 »
    Out of interest and bearing in mind we don't know many of the riders yet, which version of the team would you have preferred?

    The lesser quality, but more Irish team or the better more international version?

    What I hope the team does is boost the profile of cycling a little more in Ireland and give Irish riders the kind of advantage in making it to the pro level that riders from countries with pro teams usually get. I don't see them as a kind of surrogate national team and I don't really think that every random Irish CT level journeyman should get a PCT ride just for being Irish. I'm surprised that they seem to aiming for a higher level of rider, rather than signing not very good domestic riders because it indicates more ambition and money than I was expecting when the project was announced, but I don't have much emotional investment either way. As long as they provide a path for promising young Irish riders to develop into pros, I'll view them as a good thing. I'm basically indifferent to whether or not they fill their roster with lower level Irish riders who probably aren't going to develop much further.

    On another note, I see from some Norwegian interview (as garbled through google translate) that they are now planning on signing 17 rather than 16 riders and 14 signatures have been finalised. 7 will be announced on Monday, and twitter people seem convinced that these will include Stefan Denifl #iam, Leigh Howard #iam and Alex Kirsch #stolting.

    The Norwegian interview also included some not particularly clear exchanges about a "new funding model", which as far as I can gather seems to mean that the team will be part of a single project with a cycling sales website. We will see what that actually means in practice.
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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #33 on: October 10, 2016, 21:08 »
    As mentioned by others in the transfers thread, seven more riders have been announced.

    Stefan Denifl  #iam
    Leigh Howard  #iam
    Calvin Watson  #anpost
    Aaron Gate  #anpost
    Lasse Norman Hansen  #stolting
    Michael Kreder  #roompot
    Peter Koning  #drapac

    There are apparently still sixteen riders planned (not seventeen as reported in a Norwegian article) so five more to be announced. What we know about the remaining five is that: (a) three of the deals has been finalised a few days ago, meaning two had not been, (b) they said that they were hoping to sign a prominent climber, (c) three riders they were negotiating with are French. Beyond that, the main twitter rumours are that Alex Hirsch  #stolting and Kristoffer Skjerping  #cannondale are among those signing. Whether any of that turns out to be true, we will see.

    There's quite a lot of coverage of the team at the moment and in the various articles we learn that:

    1) The single most unusual thing about the team is that they don't intend to be primarily sponsor funded. Instead the team is to be integral to an ecommerce business, which is intended to fund the team long term. Will this work? I have no idea and to be blunt am somewhat sceptical, but it is interesting to see someone try to create a less ephemeral model of cycling team. Delaney seems to be saying in interviews that all of the proceeds from the company will go to running the team.

    2) The existing Aqua Blue amateur team, probably the strongest domestic squad in Ireland, is to continue in existence and become primarily a development team for the pro outfit. This makes fairly obvious sense, they have that structure in place so why not use it.

    3) They will be in the Tour of Britain and the Presidential Tour of Turkey and probably the Norwegian races. They've been in touch with various race organisers and believe that they will be invited to most of the races they want to go to. They are not applying for a GT wildcard in year one.
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  • « Last Edit: October 10, 2016, 21:56 by zinoviev letter »

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #34 on: October 17, 2016, 20:23 »
    No official announcements this Monday, but as others have already reported on the transfers thread, it looks very much as if they have signed Larry Warbasse  #iam. Also, the occasionally rumour that Alex Kirsch  #stolting would join were definitely wrong as he's joining  #wallonie instead.

    Still five riders to be announced, four assuming that Warbasse hasn't instead made the insane decision to join  #anpost to spend the year riding cobbles and kermesses. Not many fresh rumours that I can see as to who these other four will be, just the existing ones about (unspecified) French riders, homeless Danes and Skjerping  #cannondale.
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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #35 on: October 20, 2016, 22:49 »
    Last five riders to be announced tomorrow. Delaney seemed to indicate that they were still in negotiations with riders up until very recently, so it wasn't a case of them staggering announcements for PR reasons. They've done a pretty good job of keeping quiet exactly who they have signed or were hoping to sign, with only Larry Warbasse giving a strong hint that he might be going there.

    Most likely these will be more of the same level of rider they've already signed. I'm guessing that T=here probably won't be the high level climber they were talking about negotiating with a while ago, mostly because I'm having difficulty thinking of anyone without a team who that could reasonably be at this point. I'm also guessing that there will be either no more Irish riders or at most one more.

    I hope that a couple of them are French, given that they are French based and I'd like to see the ride a number of the small French races. I've no reason to think that they will be French beyond a comment in an interview from Delaney saying that they were negotiating with three French riders at some point. There are some decent ones available, Ag2r for instance released some good riders who haven't performed recently.

    After that we will see who they've lined up as equipment providers. I think, judging from interviews, that these have already been finalised. To be honest, I don't really share the fascination a lot of people have with what essentially interchangeable equipment brands pros use. I'm much more interested in their racing calendar, which won't be clear for a while. And then there's the issue of their website/business model which I remain sceptical of, but curious about.
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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #36 on: October 24, 2016, 19:15 »
    Final roster:

     *gb Adam Blythe #tinkoff
     *ie Matt Brammeier  #didata
     *gb Mark Christian #wiggins
     *ch Stefan Denifl  #iam
     *ie Conor Dunne  #jlt
     *gb Andy Fenn #sky
     *nz Aaron Gate  #anpost
     *dk Lasse Norman Hansen  #stolting
     *au Leigh Howard  #iam
     *ie Martyn Irvine
     *nl Peter Koning  #drapac
     *nl Michael Kreder  #roompot
     *no Lars Petter Nordhaug #sky
     *gb Daniel Pearson #wiggins
     *usa Larry Warbasse #iam
     *au Calvin Watson  #anpost

    So, a very anglophone team with all but five riders coming from English speaking countries. Four British riders (a Manxman, a Welshman, an Englishman and a Scot), three Irish, two Australians, two Dutch, one American, one Norwegian, one Dane, one Swiss and one New Zealander.

    As far as roles go, Nordhaug will obviously be the leader when there are hills. Howard and Blythe are the sprinters. Fenn a lead out and classics rider. Denifl and Warbasse are the experienced climbers, with Pearson as a climbing prospect. Most of the rest are primarily classics types and all round domestiques. Does that sound about right?
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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #37 on: October 26, 2016, 09:18 »
    Final roster:

     *gb Adam Blythe #tinkoff
     *ie Matt Brammeier  #didata
     *gb Mark Christian #wiggins
     *ch Stefan Denifl  #iam
     *ie Conor Dunne  #jlt
     *gb Andy Fenn #sky
     *nz Aaron Gate  #anpost
     *dk Lasse Norman Hansen  #stolting
     *au Leigh Howard  #iam
     *ie Martyn Irvine
     *nl Peter Koning  #drapac
     *nl Michael Kreder  #roompot
     *no Lars Petter Nordhaug #sky
     *gb Daniel Pearson #wiggins
     *usa Larry Warbasse #iam
     *au Calvin Watson  #anpost

    So, a very anglophone team with all but five riders coming from English speaking countries. Four British riders (a Manxman, a Welshman, an Englishman and a Scot), three Irish, two Australians, two Dutch, one American, one Norwegian, one Dane, one Swiss and one New Zealander.

    As far as roles go, Nordhaug will obviously be the leader when there are hills. Howard and Blythe are the sprinters. Fenn a lead out and classics rider. Denifl and Warbasse are the experienced climbers, with Pearson as a climbing prospect. Most of the rest are primarily classics types and all round domestiques. Does that sound about right?

    fits pretty well
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  • Of course, if this turns out someday to be the industry standard integrated handlebar-computer-braking solution then I'll eat my kevlar-reinforced aerodynamic hat.

    Larri Nov 12, 2014

    zinoviev letter

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #38 on: December 12, 2016, 20:14 »
    I'm pleasantly surprised by the kit, bikes and equipment. At least they will look good, whatever about their results. Cycling is definitely one of the few situations where the main concern about clothes that look like superhero costumes is that they may be a bit too tasteful and restrained.
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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #39 on: January 03, 2017, 00:54 »


    A promotional video they've put out prior to their launch. Not a lot of substantial content, unsurprisingly. The bikes look nice, Leigh Howard has a comedy moustache, they are still talking about their sales website a lot.
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  • « Last Edit: January 03, 2017, 12:51 by LukasCPH »

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #40 on: January 24, 2017, 16:14 »
    So their first races have been announced:

    Cadel Evans Race
    Herald Sun Tour
    Dubai
    Trofeo Laigueglia
    Oman

    That brings them up to mid February.

    That's a nice early season for a new PCT team and is busy enough that they are already ignoring their plan not to do overlapping races. It's quite interesting to see how much scrambling around it seems to take for PCT teams to put their calendar together, at least in the early season. Most races outside the WT just don't finalise their list of participants until close to the event, which must make decisions about targets and form peaks very tricky for riders.

    No invites to really big races announced so far, but I think the only one that has announced its wildcards that they actually applied to race is Milan San Remo. Talking about getting an invite to a Monument before they'd ever taken part in any race was a bit optimistic. Other early season races seem keen to have them though which bodes well at least until the novelty factor wears off.
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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #41 on: January 24, 2017, 18:21 »
    Are there any particular races you'd like to see them do or ones you'd think would be right up their street?

    I'd like to see Cycling Academy do the trio of Norwegian races. Luckily for you Aquasport have Nordhaug, so you must be almost guaranteed to be doing them.

    Any news on them doing the Ras?
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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #42 on: January 24, 2017, 21:14 »
    Are there any particular races you'd like to see them do or ones you'd think would be right up their street?

    I'd like to see Cycling Academy do the trio of Norwegian races. Luckily for you Aquasport have Nordhaug, so you must be almost guaranteed to be doing them.

    Any news on them doing the Ras?

    I don't think I'll be guaranteed to be doing the Norwegian races! I'm interested in the Aquablue project, because its success or failure will have an impact here but they aren't a football team I identify with!

    As for races, they have a pretty well rounded team, with someone to ride for on any terrain, so it matters more that they get access to a constant stream of races than what those races are in particular. I suppose as far as bigger races go I'd like to see them get into some decent hilly and cobbled one day events. They probably won't be invited to any of the Monuments. But things like Amstel, Omloop or Gent Wevelgem would be a big deal for them. As far as stage races are concerned, well ideally there'd be a mixture of hilly ones with a few ones with proper climbing. Again though I think that quantity is probably more important than quality. The most important thing for a new team  is that riders don't find themselves with nowhere to use their form. There's no quicker way to destroy morale than for there only to be enough races for half a squad.  If they get into a relatively prestigious stage race then Paris Nice or the Basque Country would be ideal.

    Yes I think they will be at the Norwegian races. I haven't heard anything either way about the Ras. Presumably it would be a useful marketing event for them domestically, but it really would change the race a lot if a PCT team entered a strong team. As it is, Tirol and An Post, usually the two strongest Conti teams in it are marked heavily. I've a sneaking suspicion that half the race would be trying to sit on their wheel and some complete random might win!
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  • zinoviev letter

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #43 on: February 22, 2017, 01:00 »
    Upcoming races:

    Les Boucles Drome Ardeche
    Omloop
    Dwars door West Vlaanderen
    Ronde van Drenthe
    Nokere Koerse
    Handzame
    Driedaagse De Panne
    Fleche
    Liege Bastogne Liege

    There will presumably be other races in early April added, they might get an Amstel invite etc. So far they've found it much easier to get invites to one day races than to big stage races, which should have been predictable I suppose. It's hard to break into the local team's monopoly when there are four French PCT teams looking for the four slots in Paris Nice and the Dauphine and four Italian teams looking for the four slots at Tirreno. Organisers have more slots to experiment with in the classics. They continue to get plenty of invites to smaller races too, which is very important.

    As far as the actual racing is concerned, they haven't picked up a win in the very early season, but they've shown well. They've had plenty of stage podiums, plenty of days in minor jerseys and have been in the break in well over  half of their total race days.

    The best performers so far have been two of the small number of guys coming up from the Conti ranks, Aaron Gate and Connor Dunne. I suppose it makes sense that the two of them might be looking to start the season strongly and carve out a role for themselves at the team. Either way they've both been good and look in no way out of their depth. Their season though is more likely to turn on whether the likes of Nordhaug, Denifl, Howard, Blythe etc perform Blythe wasn't great in the Arabian sprints, but nobody expects him to be competitive in full bunch sprints against top end opponents. Nordhaug fell off on the first day of Dubai, which means he's a few race days short of where he expected to be, but the Ardennes invites will give him a big season's goal.

    Finally, their much vaunted website is up and running. It's very nice and the blogs and videos are good. The ecommerce side of it, well it's starting to be clearer what they are trying to. I can see it making money if it takes off, but I remain sceptical that it can make the kind of money a cycling team swallows.
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  • zinoviev letter

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #44 on: March 27, 2017, 21:13 »
    They are getting a quite remarkable number of invites to big races now. In the last post above I mentioned that it makes a lot of sense that they have found it easier to get invites to WT one day races than to WT stage races, given that there are more wildcards available. So of course they promptly announce invites to first Suisse and then the Vuelta.

    Already having invites to a monument, one of the most prestigious one week races and a GT after less than three months racing is really very good going. They are certainly able to offer their riders an excellent calendar. That a team might not do that is probably the single biggest risk involved in signing for a smaller or newer outfit (other than the team suddenly collapsing and leaving everyone unpaid).

    I note that they have many invites to ASO related events and none to RCS races. There are more of the former, of course, but the split also reveals their basic orientation - they are clearly trying to build a relationship with the ASO, while some other teams from non-traditional countries like Gazprom or CCC seem to focus on wooing RCS.

    It's worth noting that this is the second time they've changed the approach they originally outlined seemingly because they have found it easier than expected to get into races: they initially said that they wouldn't ride overlapping races but quickly ended up doing so. They said they wouldn't be riding a GT in year one, but...
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #45 on: March 27, 2017, 22:28 »
    It's worth noting that this is the second time they've changed the approach they originally outlined seemingly because they have found it easier than expected to get into races: they initially said that they wouldn't ride overlapping races but quickly ended up doing so. They said they wouldn't be riding a GT in year one, but...
    You'll rather do it this way than the other way around - announce lofty targets that you're then unable to meet. :shh
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  • zinoviev letter

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #46 on: July 01, 2017, 23:27 »
    https://www.aquabluesport.com/press-kit-89

    The article above lays out their plans for July - Osterreich Rundfahrt, Tour de Wallonie, GP Cerami and Ride London.

    Halfway through their first season, they are doing pretty well.

    Right from the start of the year, they've been very visible. They made the break at almost every race they were in, they racked up some podium finishes, they were invited to a lot of big races. But they had some trouble getting an actual win. A lot of their riders were performing well, but the ones who were doing best were mostly their less heralded riders, while their presumed leaders, like Nordhaug, Howard and Denifil have been quiet. In fact, of the riders who would have been expected to get their results, only Blythe was really performing but guys stepping up from Conti teams, like Gate and Dunne, took up the slack.

    Then Larry Warbasse went haywire and now everything suddenly looks rosier. His win the Tour de Suisse is probably the biggest win by any PCT team so far this year. His US nationals win is probably objectively less prestigious but more useful to them in raising their profile.

    The main focus of the rest of their season will be the Vuelta. It will be interesting to see who ends up in their team.
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  • « Last Edit: July 01, 2017, 23:57 by zinoviev letter »

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #47 on: July 02, 2017, 09:34 »
    Just a comment on "biggest win by PCT team this year" claim. There's always #cofidis and the boxer. Nacer Bouhanni won a stage in the Catalunya, also a WT race. You could argue that there were better climbers in Switzerland than sprintere in Catalunya, but that will be a bit subjective. If so, you could also argue that  #wilier Marezku's 2nd place on Giro stage was a quite good result in a field that was better than the one in Catalunya.
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #48 on: July 02, 2017, 13:45 »
    If so, you could also argue that  #wilier Marezku's 2nd place on Giro stage was a quite good result in a field that was better than the one in Catalunya.
    Nobody remembers a 2nd place, though. Sure, it's a good result, but nobody cares.
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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #49 on: July 02, 2017, 21:33 »
    Just a comment on "biggest win by PCT team this year" claim. There's always #cofidis and the boxer. Nacer Bouhanni won a stage in the Catalunya, also a WT race. You could argue that there were better climbers in Switzerland than sprintere in Catalunya, but that will be a bit subjective. If so, you could also argue that  #wilier Marezku's 2nd place on Giro stage was a quite good result in a field that was better than the one in Catalunya.

    Both were good results, but 2nd isn't a win and Suisse is in my view a bigger race than Catalunya.

    I was actually surprised by how few big wins the PCT division as a whole has managed this year.
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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #50 on: July 06, 2017, 18:22 »
    And now it seems that Stefan Denifl has woken up. He came second today on the Kitzbuheler Horn stage of the Osterreich Rundfahrt, 16
    seconds behind Superman Lopez  #astana. That puts him into the GC lead, with 41 seconds lead over Delio Fernandez  #delko and 56 seconds over Lopez.

    That's a substantial lead with two stages to go,  but the parcours tomorrow - very serious climbing, but with the last climb 60 km out - makes it hard to predict what will happen. There were huge gaps today and the first 50 riders came in pretty much on their own. If he holds on, it would be Aqua Blue's first stage race win.
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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #51 on: July 08, 2017, 19:52 »
    Denifl did indeed win the Osterreich Rundfahrt.

    I don't think many people would have seen that coming based on his performances earlier this year, but he has clearly come into form. He had to be extremely strong to limit his losses to Lopez on the Kitzbuheler Horn to 16 seconds and then control everyone on the next mountain stage.

    The team's invite to the Vuelta was very surprising, but it would be hard to argue that they don't deserve a GT ride now. I'm increasingly curious about who they will end up sending. Presumably Warbasse and Denifl are certainties, but after that it gets a bit trickier. Nordhaug is supposed to be the star but has had a dreadful season. Does he get in on name value and past accomplishments? Blythe is a likelihood, I would guess, but Howard is less clear cut based on the season so far. They will have strong PR incentives to take Irish riders, so Dunne would seem nailed on and Brammeier a possibility.
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  • Leadbelly

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    zinoviev letter

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #53 on: November 23, 2017, 17:29 »
    So far it looks like the team will be very stable next year, with just Nordhaug and Howard leaving and Dunbar, Pedersen and Archbold arriving. That should represent an improvement, given that Nordhaug and Howard were entirely anonymous this year. Dunbar and Pedersen are both highly regarded espoirs while Archbold, as a good career leadout man, should help Blythe convert a few of his pile of 2nd and 3rds into wins.

    I still think that the wildcard competition is going to be very messy this year. Aquablue have earned some respect from race organisers on the basis of their results and would in normal circumstances expect to be in a good position to pick and choose their races next year. But with a strengthened Israel Cycling Academy and Fortuneo, the new Barguil team, two new Spanish PCT teams, and two new American PCT teams they can't assume anything.

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #54 on: November 23, 2017, 20:24 »
    Is that them done in the transfer market then? Fenn and Brammeier haven't renewed yet according to CQ, but PCS has the opposite. Is there nobody out there that's still available that you'd like to see?

    I still think that the wildcard competition is going to be very messy this year. Aquablue have earned some respect from race organisers on the basis of their results and would in normal circumstances expect to be in a good position to pick and choose their races next year. But with a strengthened Israel Cycling Academy and Fortuneo, the new Barguil team, two new Spanish PCT teams, and three new American PCT teams they can't assume anything.

    They do seem to get on quite well with ASO. Wildcards to FW, LBL, Eschborn-Frankfurt and the Vuelta along with participation in Oman, Yorkshire, Norway and Paris-Tours.

    Coquard and his very disappointing 2017 might not be enough to swing Vital Concept a wildcard and Aquablue could be vying with Wanty for that final spot, or alternatively Burgos has some interesting riders, but apart from Jordi they aren't Spanish, so there could be a spot available there too.
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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #55 on: November 23, 2017, 23:36 »
    for me it's still really hard to say how to rate Aqua Blue's first season, and also the chances for 2018. Of course, it was a huge success with those victories in the Tour de Suisse and especially in the Vuelta, but it'll be super hard to replicate that. I think they'll need way more than four wins this time to be able to call it a successful season, and I'm not so sure they'll be able to achieve that with the team they have. One or two good additions probably wouldn't hurt.
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  • "If this is cycling, I am a banana"

    zinoviev letter

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #56 on: November 24, 2017, 00:13 »
    Is that them done in the transfer market then? Fenn and Brammeier haven't renewed yet according to CQ, but PCS has the opposite. Is there nobody out there that's still available that you'd like to see?

    They made a lot of noise early on about how their riders would all have the stability of multi year contracts, so my assumption is that Fenn and Brammeier are indeed staying. Assuming both are, that would mean that the squad is staying at 16 so far. I don't see any evidence that they are getting a budget increase so even though Nordhaug and Howard alone were presumably on meaningfully higher wages than Dunbar, Pedersen and Archbold will get, I don't think they will add many if any more riders. Going much above a squad of 16 would mean that realistically they would have to start running two race teams at once much of the time to keep them all racing. Even if they can afford the wages themselves, that change in model would be expensive.

    I suspect that they will bring in zero or one rider more, with an outside chance of two. I would be surprised if they went beyond that (although I've been wrong about their intentions before). If they were to sign another rider, I would like it to be a sprinter or puncheur with the capability of winning a few smaller races - i.e. the roles Nordhaug and Howard were meant to fill but didn't. Who is available at this point who fits either of those descriptions, I'm not sure.

    (Edited because I forgot that Irvine retired again).
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  • « Last Edit: November 24, 2017, 01:25 by zinoviev letter »

    zinoviev letter

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #57 on: November 24, 2017, 00:45 »
    for me it's still really hard to say how to rate Aqua Blue's first season, and also the chances for 2018. Of course, it was a huge success with those victories in the Tour de Suisse and especially in the Vuelta, but it'll be super hard to replicate that. I think they'll need way more than four wins this time to be able to call it a successful season, and I'm not so sure they'll be able to achieve that with the team they have. One or two good additions probably wouldn't hurt.

    They didn't get the crop of six or ten little wins that good PCT teams usually get. On the other hand their four wins were bigger than any other PCT teams wins with the exception of Direct Energie. I don't think it's hard to rate their season - they had probably the third best season of any team in the division, behind #direct and  #androni. But I agree entirely that it's very hard to know if that's sustainable next season.

    A couple of their riders could turn in a few heroic performances like Warbasse and Denifl did this year and run into someone stronger or get tactically unlucky and end up with nothing. Without the "bread and butter" .2 and .1 wins to fall back on, it wouldn't take much of a reversal of fortune to see them get very little return. On the other hand, they did get a dozen podiums in smaller races and it wouldn't have taken that much extra luck to get a few smaller wins too.

    They had two basic problems this year: (1) they don't have a reliable winner. They have very strong depth by PCT standards but absolutely nobody who gets three or four wins every year. Lots of guys who could take a big win. Not one guy who absolutely definitely will win, even if those wins are at a lower level. (2) their racing calendar consisted mostly of races with strong fields where they were outsiders. Other ambitious PCT teams do a national season, racking up domestic wins, if they are from a big cycling country, or they go globe trotting to some more exotic races if they aren't. That's where a lot of the bread and butter little wins come from: races where the PCT teams are mostly up against Conti outfits or their divisional peers.

    If they can get a calendar again consisting mostly of WT and the more prestigious (and hotly contested) non WT races again, then I don't think they will fix the second part. Their new signings, at least as announced so far, aren't obvious fixes to the first part either. On the other hand, Dunbar is capable of important wins, Pedersen got four wins this year and Archbold should significantly improve Blythe's chances of turning his podiums into wins. So we will have to see.

    As I said above, if they make another signing or two I'd prefer it to be a sprinter (or puncheur) who can reliably win smaller races. Of course, if they get such a rider they'd need some races to suit. As Cannondale discovered over the last two season, there's not that much benefit in signing a regular small race winner like a Wippert if you don't ride races small enough for him to win,
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  • « Last Edit: November 24, 2017, 01:30 by zinoviev letter »

    Joelsim

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #58 on: November 24, 2017, 11:59 »
    They should go for Joeri Stallaert as sprinter/puncheur for smaller races. He’s without a team and got some notable results last year.

    Couldn’t do any worse than Nordhaug with his total of 7 CQ points.  :lol
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  • Leadbelly

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #59 on: December 12, 2017, 17:04 »
    I still am a bit sceptical to be honest, even with buses and four riders announced.  :P

    Was I a year too early with my scepticism? Still under review for the 2018 season.

    http://www.zikloland.com/esta-ocurriendo-equipo-aqua-blue/

    Quote
    Therefore, we talk about serious problems . And that in the language of Switzerland is summarized in one point: money (or guarantees). In other words, if Aqua Blue has not yet been registered it is because it must have problems with bank guarantees or sponsorship contracts and its guarantees are not enough to cover the payments. There are not many more alternatives. Another thing is that the team achieves a quick resolution of the problem.

    But the Licensing Commission met at the beginning of November ... and a month later the alternative has not yet appeared. Of course, until the money and / or its guarantees are not on the table, the team will not go on the roads . It is the only sure thing in this story, since the UCI does not allow (or tries) to have scandals during the season.
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