After spending almost his entire 2017 season trying to recover from an injury, a resurgent Shane Archbold has signed for Aqua Blue Sport for the 2018 season.
Archbold had spent the last three seasons racing for Bora Hansgrohe, but only started his 2017 season in September after struggling to recover from lingering problems related to his horrendous crash in the 17th stage of the 2016 Tour de France. That crash left Archbold with a broken pelvis, but it was the bulging discs in his back, and subsequent surgery, that kept the Flying Mullet firmly grounded for most of 2017.
However, since his return to racing he has made it clear that he is back with a vengeance, leading out team sprinter Sam Bennett to three stage wins out of three in the opening days of the Tour of Turkey. It is this ability as a lead out rider, as well as his potential as a hard man for the spring classics, that attracted Aqua Blue Sport. Of course, his extensive palmares on the track, including silver in the Omnium at the 2011 World Championships, as well as gold in the scratch race at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, probably did not hurt either.
According to the team’s general manager, Stephen Moore, Archbold was a great addition to the team and would help to boost the team’s efforts in the sprints. “Shane has demonstrated great resilience in returning to form following a spell of rehabilitation and since coming back to racing has shown a resurgence of the kind of ability that brought him to the WorldTour. We are delighted to have him on board for 2018 and look forward to taking advantage of his strengths,” said Moore in a team press release.
For Archbold, his move to the team represents a fresh start after a very promising career trajectory was temporarily derailed by his lingering injuries following his Tour de France crash. “Having been through a challenging period of my career hampered by injury, I am ready to move on to the next chapter. I have followed the progress of Aqua Blue Sport with interest and believe the team to be an excellent fit for my future ambition. I look forward to a fresh start, to getting to know my new teammates and to some exciting racing in 2018,” said Archbold.
Aqua Blue Sport is currently the home of another top Kiwi track racer, with 2011 Omnium World Champion Aaron Gate also racing for the team.