The future is uncertain for Aqua Blue Sport’s Aaron Gate and Shane Archbold as their team announced overnight that they will not be renewing their ProContinental licence in 2019.  Gate has been with the team since 2017, racing the Vuelta a Espana with the team, while Archbold arrived in 2018.

In a statement released by the team, Aqua Blue Sport announced that they will not be applying for a UCI ProContinental licence in 2019; indicating the folding of the team at the end of the 2018 season.  “We, Aqua Blue Sport, started this project over two years ago with huge ambition, gusto and optimism that we could actually make a difference.  This year we have found it increasingly difficult to obtain race invitations and recognition from race organisers in how unique and how well supported our project should be,” the statement said.

Negotiations appeared to be positive around obtaining sponsorship for the new season, but sadly ‘common sense did not prevail’.  “We believed on numerous occasions that the deal was so far advanced that it was a foregone conclusion that a partnership would be achieved.  Today, August 27, 2018, we now find ourselves in a position where we can categorically state that all negotiations have been terminated.”

“I guess it’s fair to say, that we have made some fundamental mistakes, and errors of judgement, ultimately bringing our ‘on road’ ambitions, to an unfortunate end.  We are of course, not going to give up with our passion of becoming a sustainable cycling team and will continue to grow and develop our e-commerce platform www.aquabluesport.com to enable us to return to the road unshackled some time in the future.”

Shane Archbold has finished third in the final stage of the Tour of Denmark, photo Karen M. Edwards

2018 has been a strong season for both Kiwis, with Archbold taking 5 top ten finishes in 2018, including third in the final stage of the Tour of Denmark, fourth in stage 4 of the Tour of Norway and 7th in the GP de Denain – Porte du Hainaut.

Aaron Gate’s year has seen him claim the king of the mountains crown at the Tour of Austria – leading the race from day 1 – while also taking top ten finishes at races such as the Tour du Limousin and Tour des Fjords.

This means an uncertain future for both Aaron Gate and Shane Archbold, who are now two of a 16-man team who will be looking for a new team in the 2019 season.  We wish Aaron and Shane all the best as they look for new opportunities in the 2019 season.  

Aaron Gate’s Aqua Blue Sport team have missed out on invites to several races in 2018 after lining up at the Vuelta a Espana in 2017, photo Sirotti

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