Wow! Last week was a huge week for Knight Composites and our partners at Aqua Blue Sport. Over the course of 5 days we saw Aqua Blue team members on the podium in Australia, and contesting for top placement in Dubai.
Irish strongman Conor Dunne planted an early flag with the team’s first classification victory of the year, earning the climber’s jersey at Cadel Evan’s Great Ocean Road Race, in the one-day event. In scorching temperatures the Irishman led a day-long breakaway and sealed the victory on the numerous hill top primes dotted across the course.
Not to be outdone, two days later, British National Road Racing Champion, Adam Blythe quickly chalked up a top 10 finish in the opening stage of the 2017 Tour Dubai. Early in the stage, Aqua Blue Sport began their ride to place Blythe right in the action. With 7kms to go five time Irish Road Race champ Matt Brammeier rushed Blythe to the front behind the Dimension Data squad as the sprint trains began to increase the speed.
In what almost proved to be a carbon copy of the previous day’s events, Blythe secured a second top 10 finish at Dubai’s second stage, only feet behind stage-winner Marcel Kittel of Quickstep. All the way into the seaside finish, Blythe was poised, settling behind the right wheel and moving up. The constant pressure of the peloton eventually caused a split in the group with two km’s to go. Blythe launched his sprint and took an early, but could not hold on, as Kittel unleashed his power to capture the stage win.
Meanwhile, back down under, Aussie tough guy, Leigh Howard captured a top-five spot in the Jayco Herald Sun Tour Prologue, missing the top slot by a barely perceptible margin of 3/1000th’s of a second!
Almost simultaneous to Howard’s strong finish, Adam Blythe repeated his top-ten finishes from early with another slot in Dubai rankings, pulling down a 9th place finish among swirling dessert winds and a blinding sandstorm.
The next day saw Conor Dunne ascending the podium again in Australia, grabbing a second place finish in the Sun Tour’s second stage. Dunne was part of a strong 10-man breakaway group that established a near unbeatable lead over the pursuing peloton. After a mechanical, which forced a wheel swap, the big man clawed his way back to the front, finish just a few seconds behind the stage winner.
Seemingly trading places on the podium, the next day’s contest saw Leigh Howard standing on the podium, capturing third in the Sun Tour’s 3rd stage. The rough stage, as several riders suffered crashes and the bunch split on several occasions. The peloton’s rush to the finish set up what looked like a guaranteed sprinter’s storm but a technical finish and nervous riders in the bunch combined to cause two late crashes, allowing Howard to slip through unscathed and grab the podium spot.
What a great week of racing and an incredible opening season for Aqua Blue Sport. Congratulations boys, we’re with you all the way and we’re looking forward to more great racing this season!