Aaron Gate can understandably head into stage 18 on cloud 9 after teammate Stefan Denifl claimed Aqua Blue Sport’s first ever grand tour stage win.  We took the opportunity to catch up with Aaron as he celebrated with the team a historical moment.

RC:  First of all you said that [a stage win] would be your goal as a team and today you’ve accomplished it.  How happy are you and the team right now after Stefan’s win?

Aaron:  Everyone is absolutely ecstatic for Stef right now! It was a brutally hard stage and he did it the even harder way. He was aggressive right from the start, and had Conor Dunne help catapult him up the road into the early break, initially with only 3 riders, that eventually swelled to 6. Still a very small group though considering just how long they just hung in front of the bunch in what was the strongest wind of the entire tour, and it was block head most of the stage. 

For him to then fend off attacks from the likes of Contador with only a very slim margin left on the final 2 climbs of the day it really shows how impressive our Austrian legend was on the bike today!

Stefan Denifl wins stage 17 of the Vuelta a Espana, Aqua Blue Sport’s first stage win of a grand tour, photo Sirotti

RC:  Tell us about Stefan and what kind of rider he is to the team.

Aaron:  He has been struggling a little bit with the heat on some of the stages, so with it being a lot cooler and a bit drizzly today we did know it would help him perform today, but I don’t think anyone anticipated by just how much!

RC:  Obviously the team will not shy away from an opportunity to get a second stage win should the opportunity arise, but has the win today lightened the pressure a little for Aqua Blue Sport

Aaron:  A glass of champagne sometimes does wonders for the legs, so we’ll see if it works for someone else tomorrow I suppose and go from there…


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