Tour of Britain 2018: Team Wiggins added after Aqua Blue Sport withdraw

Britain's Tom Pidcock stands on the podium wearing a gold medal and the rainbow jersey after winning the 2017 junior world time trial championship
Tom Pidcock won junior Paris-Roubaix and the junior world time trial championship last year

Team Wiggins have replaced Aqua Blue Sport in the Tour of Britain after the withdrawal of the Irish outfit, who will fold at the end of the season.

Aqua Blue Sport announced on Monday that they would not race next year.

Tour of Britain organisers said on Tuesday the team had subsequently pulled out of the eight-day race, which starts on Sunday.

Britain's Tom Pidcock will lead Team Wiggins, the professional team founded by Sir Bradley Wiggins.

The junior world time trial champion, 19, will be joined by compatriots Gabriel Cullaigh and Joey Walker, Irish pair Matthew Teggart and Mark Downey and New Zealand's James Fouche.

"I'm delighted to have an opportunity to ride in the Tour of Britain," said Pidcock.

"Riding in front of British fans is always a great experience and hopefully our team can give them plenty to cheer about over the course of the race."

It will be Team Wiggins' third appearance in the Tour of Britain. Current Team Sky rider Owain Doull was third overall in 2015, and former Tour de France champion Wiggins won the event while racing for Sky in 2013.

Tour de France winners Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome will lead Team Sky in this year's race, which starts at Pembrey Country Park, Carmarthenshire.

Earlier on Tuesday, race organisers said they were "naturally disappointed" by the "late decision" of Aqua Blue Sport to withdraw, with British riders Mark Christian and former national champion Adam Blythe having been set to race.

The riders will now have to seek new teams for next season and could have used the Tour of Britain to attract interest.

Aqua Blue Sport was set up by Rick Delaney in 2017 and became the first Irish team to compete in a Grand Tour at the Vuelta a Espana last year, also winning a stage through Austria's Stefan Denifl.

However, the professional continental team were not invited to any of the three Grand Tours this year and saw a merger with Veranda's Willems-Crelan fall through earlier this month.

Aqua Blue Sport had announced it was acquiring Sniper Cycling, which runs Veranda's Willems-Crelan, only for the Belgian outfit to deny a purchase had been made, leading the Irish team to delete posts about the merger.

In a statement confirming the team would not seek a racing licence for 2019, Aqua Blue Sport said it had made "fundamental mistakes" and "errors of judgement" but would seek to grow its online shop to try to return to professional cycling "some time in the future".