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"There are a lot of teams that come and go in cycling. But I strongly believe that Aqua Blue Sport has a solid platform to stay in cycling for a long time.”


Photo: Sirotti




31.12.2016 @ 10:00 Posted by Joseph Doherty

For Adam Blythe, 2016 was a good season that looked like it wasn’t going to plan. But with the emergence of the new Aqua Blue Sport team, he may have found a squad that will allow him to be the leader in his favourite races: long, hard and hilly days that result in small group sprints.


Blythe had some stand out rides in 2016: 12th at the Worlds as British teammate Mark Cavendish took second, Blythe was the only British rider to make the split in the crosswinds with Cav. His first national road race title also arrived in June, along with nice results in Luxembourg and Australia.


CyclingQuotes caught up with Blythe just before Christmas to find out more about his new employers and how he assesses his 2016 season, Tinkoff’s last in the peloton.


“Successful. Winning the Nationals was my highlight of the season and also performing well at the worlds,” was Blythe’s response when CyclingQuotes asked how he would assess 2016. He clearly has no issues about dropping down to Pro Continental level and the fact he wasn’t on a Grand Tour team hasn’t affected his outlook on the year.


One issue he had with Tinkoff was their national jerseys. They made terrible jobs of Rafal Majka’s Polish jersey and Roman Kreuziger’s Czech Republic jersey. At the start of the year, Yuri Trofimov’s Russian jersey was poor too. Blythe’s jersey was actually the best of the lot, but Tinkoff didn’t provide the 27 year old with enough jerseys to last even half the season.


However, he says Aqua Blue have ensured the second half of his stint as national champion does not receive such poor service, which Blythe is delighted about.


“It's honestly been disappointing. The Nationals jersey is something that I may only wear once in my cycling career. Sadly I only received two short sleeve National jerseys from Tinkoff. One of them was finished after a heavy day of racing in the rain. So yes… slightly disappointed to not of been able to wear my stripes properly. However with Aqua Blue Sport, I have received a full set of kit already which I will be wearing everyday in training and racing.”


That brought us neatly onto his new team, recently set up by successful Irish businessman Rick Delaney, a man who has endless love for the sport of cycling and has set big goals for his new team already for their first season after capturing big WorldTour names like Blythe, Leigh Howard and Lars Petter Nordhaug. We asked the Brit what attracted him to Delaney’s project?


“Being a new team with new goals. There are a lot of teams that come and go in cycling. But I strongly believe that Aqua Blue Sport has a solid platform to stay in cycling for a long time.”


Aqua Blue are targetting several WorldTour races that they will be allowed to participate as wild card teams for 2017, including the seasons’s longest race, the Milano-Sanremo monument. Confirmation is yet to be recieved, but the team hopes to be on the srtart line in Milan. Blythe hopes to share leadership with the team’s other fast finishers like Howard in some big races.


“We will share the leadership role to our goals and who we believe had the best chance of winning on the day. But personally I would like to lead the team in races like Qatar (the Tour of Qatar was cancelled just after this interview was conducted ed.) and Milan Sanremo.”


Many were shocked Blythe didn’t find a WorldTour team for 2017, especially after his great day at the Worlds. We asked him to talk through a proud day for himself, but a bad day for Britain as Cavendish was beaten on the line for a second Rainbow Jersey by Peter Sagan, Blythe’s trade teammate at the time.


“Riding for Cav that day was a pleasure. I knew I would be in that front echelon if I was in the right position. I just made sure I was. Riding for myself that day never crossed my mind. I was there to back Cav as he, I believe, is still the fastest man in the world. The confidence I took from that was race wasn't so much confidence in my ability, but more confidence that I can perform at that level more consistently.”


Indeed Blythe has stepped up when required, winning his national title, 12th in the Worlds, beating WorldTour riders back when he raced for NFTO in 2014 at RideLondon. His class is undeniable and he will perform well in 2017 if given the chance. As for 2017, Blythe was short and sweet about his goals for the year:


“I want to be as successful as I was in 2016.”




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