Aqua Blue Sport team bus destroyed at Vuelta a España

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The Aqua Blue Sport team has had a setback to its first-ever Grand Tour campaign, with an arsonist setting fire to the team bus overnight in Almeria.

Images released on social media on Thursday morning showed the damaged vehicle, which was destroyed by the blaze. It had been bought from the Tinkoff team at the end of last season and readied for Aqua Blue Sport’s debut year.

The team subsequently issued a short press statement with more details.

Story Highlights

  • Suspected arsonist arrested after team bus destroyed overnight in Almeria.
  • Squad is in its first season and secured a wildcard invite to the Vuelta a Espana.
  • It is the first Irish team in history to ride a Grand Tour, and has been helped by race organisers Unipublic and ASO after last night’s blaze.
“At approximately 1.20am on 31st August, 2017 the Aqua Blue Sport Team Bus was completely gutted in a cowardly arson attack,” it said. “The incident happened outside the Tryp Indalo Hotel in Almeria where the team were staying over night. The bus was parked on an adjoining street of Trevesia de San Luis.

“A mattress was placed under the rear of the vehicle and set alight. A suspect was arrested by local police near the scene and is currently in custody.

“As this is an active investigation we will not be releasing any further information. We would like to extend our gratitude to the Fire Service and the Police for their help during this difficult time. We would also like to thank Unipublic and ASO for their assistance.”

The team has made an impressive debut this season, clocking up a number of strong placings prior to Larry Warbasse’s breakthrough stage win at the Tour de Suisse. He then went on to win the US national road race championship. In July Stefan Denifl took the team’s first stage race victory when he won his home race, the Tour of Austria.

It became the first-ever Irish team to compete in a Grand Tour when it started the Vuelta a España earlier this month. Adam Blythe has gone closest to achieving the goal of a stage win, netting third on the bunch sprint on day two. Michel Kreder was sixth on stage eight.

The team has been provided with a 52-seater bus by the race organiser. This will be used to transport the squad to the start and from the finish in the upcoming days. It is as yet unclear how soon the team will be able to replace its bus.

Stage 12 begins in Motril, slightly over 100 kilometres from the team’s hotel.

The video below shows the team bus earlier this season.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiY5JZgiGPk

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