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LukasCPH

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Re: Team Aqua Blue News
« Reply #60 on: December 13, 2017, 10:08 »
Was I a year too early with my scepticism? Still under review for the 2018 season.
I always thought Delaney's business model of "wine and spirits importer to Ireland" strange, and the team's business model of "eventually, our online marketplace for bike parts will pay the team budget" even stranger.

Is reality catching up with Delaney and his toy? I would hope not, for I found the team an exciting & successful one in its first season.
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    zinoviev letter

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #61 on: December 13, 2017, 16:35 »
    We will see. That rich man's toy teams are dependent on the rich man being both rich enough and interested enough to keep ploughing money in is intrinsic to the model.

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  • zinoviev letter

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #62 on: December 13, 2017, 17:36 »
    It's worth saying though that it's December, there's no sign of riders being shopped around, the team are announcing a stream of sponsors and equipment partners and they revealed their new kit today. None of this points towards a team that's about to disappear. (Or if they do disappear it would indicate rather extreme irresponsibility).

    My concern about their longevity has always been about the third year forward, basically because I don't think a cycling sales website will earn a PCT budget and Delaney's commitment after the first two years was always phrased a bit more carefully.
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #63 on: December 13, 2017, 17:53 »
    It's worth saying though that it's December, there's no sign of riders being shopped around, the team are announcing a stream of sponsors and equipment partners and they revealed their new kit today. None of this points towards a team that's about to disappear. (Or if they do disappear it would indicate rather extreme irresponsibility).
    I agree with this assessment; it's most likely that some inane paperwork hasn't quite gotten to Aigle in its original, triplicate form yet.
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  • Leadbelly

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #64 on: December 14, 2017, 19:45 »
    Scepticism packed away.

    http://www.procycling.no/innvilget-lisens-aqua-blue-sport/

    They have their PCT status for 2018. :)
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #65 on: December 14, 2017, 21:25 »
    They have their PCT status for 2018. :)
    Must have been the myriad of shamrocks they now have on their sleeves that brought them good luck.
    :D
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  • zinoviev letter

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #66 on: January 20, 2018, 17:53 »
    The wildcard situation is looking a bit concerning. No invites at all so far. They seem to be running into two problems: (1) there’s been a strengthening of the PCT division, including in the traditional cycling countries where race organisers are based. (2) Of the ambitious teams from outside the traditional countries, like Gazprom and Cycling Academy, they are backed by the least insanely wealthy oligarch.

    It’s a bit tough when they were the team who gave the best return to race organisers in terms of wins and race animation from their wildcards last year.
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  • L'arri

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #67 on: January 22, 2018, 11:01 »
    The wildcard situation is looking a bit concerning. No invites at all so far. They seem to be running into two problems: (1) there’s been a strengthening of the PCT division, including in the traditional cycling countries where race organisers are based. (2) Of the ambitious teams from outside the traditional countries, like Gazprom and Cycling Academy, they are backed by the least insanely wealthy oligarch.

    It’s a bit tough when they were the team who gave the best return to race organisers in terms of wins and race animation from their wildcards last year.

    Reminds me rather of One Pro Cycling. It was not always easy to see which races would suit them but the ones to which they obtained invitations earliest didn't seem like a good fit. Flanders was hard for them that first Spring. And then they were back to CT and struggling to move forward.

    Even so, Aqua Blue has performed a lot better so far and hopefully Delaney has the money and patience to stick it out for longer as the, ahem, single-ring sponsor.
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    Leadbelly

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #68 on: January 22, 2018, 17:11 »
    The wildcard situation is looking a bit concerning. No invites at all so far. They seem to be running into two problems: (1) there’s been a strengthening of the PCT division, including in the traditional cycling countries where race organisers are based. (2) Of the ambitious teams from outside the traditional countries, like Gazprom and Cycling Academy, they are backed by the least insanely wealthy oligarch.

    It’s a bit tough when they were the team who gave the best return to race organisers in terms of wins and race animation from their wildcards last year.

    Five wildcards (with these smaller teams) would be a step in the right direction, but even then that would probably only get rid of the headache for RCS/ASO over which Italian/French team to leave out, it wouldn't result in another non-local invitee.

    If the UCI goes through with it's reduction of WT to 17 teams next year and 16 the year after, then that could open up opportunities.

    My favourite option is teams earning invites, like the Coppa Italia for the Giro, but extended to include non-local teams. A season long narrative anyone?
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  • t-72

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #69 on: January 22, 2018, 22:00 »
    I think the wild-cards should primarily be used nationally. The World Tour teams madatory invite take care of the global perspective, but to get spectators - put local riders on the road!


    (And spectators doesn't make the wheels spin, but it makes the economy spin, just as we saw in the world championships  :P )
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  • zinoviev letter

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #70 on: January 22, 2018, 23:51 »
    I think the wild-cards should primarily be used nationally. The World Tour teams madatory invite take care of the global perspective, but to get spectators - put local riders on the road!


    (And spectators doesn't make the wheels spin, but it makes the economy spin, just as we saw in the world championships  :P )

    There’s a balance to be struck between GTs as national tours and GTs as the pinnacle of international stage racing. I’m of the view that there should always be a substantial local presence, but it’s better when much if that presence is made up of top local riders and strong local teams preferably in the WT. I really don’t think it makes a blind bit of difference to interest levels in the Tour whether there are four, five, or six French teams in it. Particularly in a period when there are French podium contenders, nobody really cares if the fourth strongest second division team in France is in the breakaways.
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  • zinoviev letter

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #71 on: February 01, 2018, 21:08 »
    Well they may be having more trouble getting invites than last year, but they also gave their first win under their belts a lot earlier
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  • L'arri

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #72 on: February 02, 2018, 13:02 »
    3T will be pleased.

    Delaney, you know, he told them the team was sure to deliver a good season in 2018.

    He said that he was pretty sure about that, so 3T shouldn't hesitate to back them.

    Furthermore, Delaney added, they could generate even more publicity with some sort of eye-catching techno gimmick.

    3T agreed this was a pretty cool idea. It would be easier to do that if they supplied the team bikes. And Vroomen had already shown them a brilliant design.

    "If you like it," smiled Delaney, "then you should put a single ring on it."
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  • LukasCPH

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    L'arri

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #74 on: August 27, 2018, 11:06 »
    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/aqua-blue-sport-will-not-race-in-2019/

    I suppose we should have seenthe writing on the wall for #aquablue but with all the hubris about merging with #willems, it seemed for a while that there were fewer reasons to doubt the health of Delaney's investment.

    I think there's still some mileage in the idea of a self-funding team but the circumstances would need to be a lot more favourable and, as for the part about not getting invitations, that was the most important dependency of all.

    Though the signs were promising around the middle of 2017, that was the big gamble that Delaney lost, because the team just wasn't good enough to overcome the vested interests and old school ties.
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  • Carlo Algatrensig

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #75 on: August 28, 2018, 09:04 »
    I think I posted last year that I felt they got the Vuelta invite last year by default in being the only team left who wanted it. I think they made some misjudgements this year. Assumed having the US Champ would guarantee a spot at California, winning a stage at last years vuelta would guarantee a spot there. They got lucky in their first year and a combination of not building on that good fortune and a bolstering of the pro continental ranks in France and especially Spain meant that they've struggled this year.
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  • L'arri

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #76 on: August 28, 2018, 14:08 »
    I think I posted last year that I felt they got the Vuelta invite last year by default in being the only team left who wanted it. I think they made some misjudgements this year. Assumed having the US Champ would guarantee a spot at California, winning a stage at last years vuelta would guarantee a spot there. They got lucky in their first year and a combination of not building on that good fortune and a bolstering of the pro continental ranks in France and especially Spain meant that they've struggled this year.

    Sums it up nicely, really. I want to write a bit more about invitations because I think that's the crucial factor that kills this team.

    What was expected was to ride some or most of the Spring Classics and at least one GT. What was delivered was almost none of the above.

    To obtain big Classics invitations you need riders with pedigree and results. In Spring 2017 there were only a few ripples on an otherwise calm Aqua Blue sea.

    Meanwhile to obtain a GT invitation, experience tells us that you either need attractive local references (hence the favours bestowed on local teams), good or very promising results and preferably good marketing. Winning a stage in the Vuelta was impressive but still not enough.

    The roster of riders does not really fit the mould of either a GT- or Classics-focused team (some decent rouleurs and a couple of moderate climbers), has no local Euro references at all (French, Spanish or Belgian riders), too few consistent results and no Qhubeka story. Any direction you push them, the vectors just aren't potent enough.


    I think the team could have had a better shot at invitations if it had been more active in the "mercato" but the willingness to offer security ...

    Quote
    It is understood that all the riders are signed on rolling two-year contracts.
    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/blythe-warbasse-fenn-sign-for-aqua-blue-sport/

    ... together with a tight budget meant that significant recruitment in 2017 was not feasible and by the time, as a rider agent, you could think about taking this project seriously (i.e. after the Vuelta stage win) most of your better names had signed elsewhere.

    So in 2018, it was pretty much the same roster facing all the same decision points without having really learned any lessons.
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  • t-72

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #77 on: August 28, 2018, 22:26 »
    I have been hearing how great it is that businessmen with new ideas are backing cycling teams, but, I agree with this tweet. I could never understand how the team's innovative businessmodel could work, and I thought there would be some deep pockets hiding behind it. Now that we see that there isn't, it is also clear that it wasn't a good business plan in the first place.

    https://twitter.com/ffflow/status/1034473550764224512
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  • zinoviev letter

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #78 on: August 29, 2018, 00:03 »
    Jesus what a mess. Let’s see if riders and staff get all of the money they are owed.
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  • search

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #79 on: August 29, 2018, 07:05 »
    if they did so so far, with the bank guarantee they should be more or less fine in that regard, I guess
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    L'arri

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #80 on: August 29, 2018, 09:24 »
    I have been hearing how great it is that businessmen with new ideas are backing cycling teams, but, I agree with this tweet. I could never understand how the team's innovative businessmodel could work, and I thought there would be some deep pockets hiding behind it. Now that we see that there isn't, it is also clear that it wasn't a good business plan in the first place.

    https://twitter.com/ffflow/status/1034473550764224512

    This indeed. I must admit that I had no idea until the team folded that there was a business model behind it.

    Contrast that, if you'll allow, with Ben King yesterday and his rather eloquent plug for Qhubeka even after an exhausting stage. Indeed every time a rider signs with #didata, they shoehorn it into the press release. The team underperforms in terms of results but nobody can say its PR game is off.

    Not that it's all about plugging your sponsors, of course, but Wiggle et al rule the market and even they aren't completely secure. Perhaps Delaney just got it all the wrong way around: the business should have come first, then the team. That's no longer a new concept but it has a better chance of working.
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  • Carlo Algatrensig

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #81 on: August 29, 2018, 09:52 »
    Sums it up nicely, really. I want to write a bit more about invitations because I think that's the crucial factor that kills this team.

    What was expected was to ride some or most of the Spring Classics and at least one GT. What was delivered was almost none of the above.

    To obtain big Classics invitations you need riders with pedigree and results. In Spring 2017 there were only a few ripples on an otherwise calm Aqua Blue sea.

    Meanwhile to obtain a GT invitation, experience tells us that you either need attractive local references (hence the favours bestowed on local teams), good or very promising results and preferably good marketing. Winning a stage in the Vuelta was impressive but still not enough.


    When it comes to Wildcards at WT races I would like to see a switch back to a system more like it was pre Pro/Worldtour with Teams meeting certain criteria which would now be WT teams, getting guaranteed invites to all 3 GTs but not being compelled to take part in all of them. In the last year before the formation of the Pro Tour 36 different teams rode Grand Tours, This year it was 29. Also in 2004 the Giro had 19 teams and the Tour and Vuelta had 21 so there were also actually 5 less spots available at Grand tours than there are now so it's gone from 61 Grand tour starts being filled by 36 teams to 66 available starts being filled by 29. That doesnt seem good for cycling to me.

    Post Merge: August 29, 2018, 09:56
    Not that it's all about plugging your sponsors, of course, but Wiggle et al rule the market and even they aren't completely secure. Perhaps Delaney just got it all the wrong way around: the business should have come first, then the team. That's no longer a new concept but it has a better chance of working.

    I did a bit of looking up regarding Wiggle/CRC last night and what I saw of their finances suggest to me that the Aqua Blue model for a professional team is completely unviable.
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #82 on: August 29, 2018, 11:05 »
    When it comes to Wildcards at WT races I would like to see a switch back to a system more like it was pre Pro/Worldtour with Teams meeting certain criteria which would now be WT teams, getting guaranteed invites to all 3 GTs but not being compelled to take part in all of them. In the last year before the formation of the Pro Tour 36 different teams rode Grand Tours, This year it was 29. Also in 2004 the Giro had 19 teams and the Tour and Vuelta had 21 so there were also actually 5 less spots available at Grand tours than there are now so it's gone from 61 Grand tour starts being filled by 36 teams to 66 available starts being filled by 29. That doesnt seem good for cycling to me.
    Very much this.

    In my opinion, there should be 15 WT teams with guaranteed invites to all WT events (including GTs), but with the possibility of 'opting out' of a certain number of races. Maybe 1 GT, 2 week-long stage races, and 3-4 one-day races per team per year. Max. 3-4 teams can opt out for any one race, on a first come, first served basis, and opt-outs would have to be filed by 1 January, but min. 2-3 months ahead of the race (so e.g. mid-October or mid-November for the Tour Down Under).
    This gives GTs at least 7 wildcards each (possibly up to 10-11), and other races at least 10 wildcards, possibly 13-14.

    Taking this year, we'd go from 18 WT & 27 PCT to 15 WT & 30 PCT, a much higher (statistical) chance for each PCT to get wildcards, and no barebone WT squads in races the team just isn't interested in.

    Coincidentally, the idea of 15 teams with guaranteed invites to all events and the possibility of opting out is lifted 1-to-1 from the Women's WorldTour. ;)
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  • t-72

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #83 on: August 29, 2018, 21:52 »
    The Pro Conti level is a very uncertain place to be, because there are no guarantees for participations in the major events (read: Grand Tours) that many of the PC teams would like to participate in. What baffles me with Aquablue is the way they sound like they think they have been treated wrongly by race organizers because they did not get an invitation (from the vuelta organizers, for example).
    There are 19 other pro conti teams too choose from (this year), and they would probably all like to ride in an important event too! What is so special about Aqua blue? 
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #84 on: August 30, 2018, 09:42 »
    There are 19 other pro conti teams too choose from (this year), and they would probably all like to ride in an important event too! What is so special about Aqua blue?
    The team was founded by Rick Delaney!
    That in itself makes it the specialest of teams ever!!
    And as if that wasn't enough, Rick wanted the team to essentially fund itself, becoming the first team in cycling history to do so!!!
     :-x
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  • pastronef

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #85 on: September 01, 2018, 15:29 »
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #86 on: September 01, 2018, 19:20 »
    nice people at Sticky_Bottle  :wut
    Hmm ...
    Like the inspiration for the site's name, they don't exactly have the bestest reputation in inside circles. ;)

    As a good journalist, you talk to people off the record all the time. It's your job, really!
    But ideally, you do this with people who already know and trust you.
    You don't reach out to anyone and everyone who might end up telling you a nugget, then make a story of that.
    And if someone speaks to you off the record, it stays off the record.
    Unless and until they tell you you can go public with it.

    You'll often want or need to use unattributed sources. That's completely normal.
    But you still ask their permission to report what they said.

    And you don't, ever, reveal your sources if they requested anonymity. Ever. Ever. Ever.
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  • Carlo Algatrensig

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #87 on: September 02, 2018, 11:38 »
    nice people at Sticky_Bottle  :wut

    https://www.twitter.com/calvin_watson/status/1035562284402257920

    There's no problem with a journo approaching someone involved in a story but that's a pretty ham fisted way of doing it. When he says "off the record" I assume he meant to say "we'll report what you say anonymously" and the line "it doesn't neccesarily have to be a hatchet job on Delaney" screams that he wants it to be a hatchet job on Delaney.
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  • Flo

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #88 on: September 03, 2018, 07:56 »
    Personally, I see no issue with the request from the Sticky Bottle journalist. He is asking for Watson's side of the story while offering anonymity. In no way is he trying to spread false rumours like Watson suggests, after all, if Watson tells his story to the journo, those wouldn't be false rumours right?
    Frankly a bit classless to name and shame  a journo just doing his job like that.
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    L'arri

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    Re: Team Aqua Blue News
    « Reply #89 on: September 03, 2018, 09:58 »
    Personally, I see no issue with the request from the Sticky Bottle journalist. He is asking for Watson's side of the story while offering anonymity. In no way is he trying to spread false rumours like Watson suggests, after all, if Watson tells his story to the journo, those wouldn't be false rumours right?
    Frankly a bit classless to name and shame  a journo just doing his job like that.

    I must say that I completely agree: felt like I'd been clickbaited after I read it. A bit sloppy in the approach but really nothing more sinister than that. Perhaps Watson has a broader context of experience with this particular outlet or else his feelings are understandably very raw right now but we do not need in these times to label every little thing as fake news, especially when nothing has even been written yet. Just simply and respectfully deny the request. End.
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