Ireland’s first professional continental cycling team, Aqua Blue, will make its debut in the pro cycling peloton in Australia next year and will line up in the 1-5 February Jayco Herald Sun Tour.
Cycling Central

Jayco Herald Sun Tour
21 Dec 2016 - 8:07 AM  UPDATED 21 Dec 2016 - 11:59 AM

The Aqua Blue team will feature two Australians, 2013 Jayco Herald Sun Tour winner Calvin Watson and 2016 Cadel Road Race runner-up Leigh Howard.

The pair will be joined by Aaron Gate (NZL), Peter Koning (NED), Michel Kreder (NED), Larry Warbasse (USA) and Conor Dunne (IRL).

The race will feature some of the best riders in the world, including three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome and ORICA-BikeExchange duo Esteban Chaves and two-time former Sun Tour champion Simon Gerrans.

Jayco Herald Sun Tour heads to the mountains
Australia’s oldest stage race received a facelift for its 2017 route, with more hills and mountains on the menu as the local riders take on the likes of Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange).

Three years ago Watson became the youngest winner of the Sun Tour makes a return to the race for the first time since placing 20th in 2014.

"I'm looking forward to getting back, to Australia for one and secondly to the Sun Tour,” Watson said. “I haven't been there for a few years now and I believe the race has changed quite a bit since I won it as well. From looking at the profile it's going to be a bloody hard race but an exciting one I think.

"It's quite amazing to see how far the race has come and I think you've got to take your hat off to John Trevorrow, he's obviously worked super hard to get the race to where he believes it belongs.

"I've been working really hard. I want to come to Australia and get the ball rolling well, not just for the morale. I'm not just coming to Australia to ride around, I'm coming to perform and chase results and get the season off to a great start.

"It's really cool to have Leigh on the team. For me to have another Australian there is always very nice. I know Leigh pretty well, raced against him a lot and for a team like Aqua Blue to have Leigh onboard is fantastic. He's a quality bike rider and we all hope to see him at his best in Australia and we can make a bang and kick-start the year.”