Riders from all the UCI World Cycling Centre satellite stations competed for six starting spots. Five of those positions were awarded to ridefs from the African World Cycling Centre, who acts as the feeder squad to Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung.
South Africans Nicholas Dougall and JC Nel, Namibians Costa Seibeb and Till Drobisch, Eritrean Merhawi Kudus and Ivorian Issiaka Cisse all form part of the line up.
“First of all it means we’re doing something right,” said Director of the World Cycling Centre Africa, JP van Zyl. “We’re getting results, winning races in Europe, and showing that we’re not standing back for any competition. I also believe we’re the team with the most opportunities in Africa. If you come to the World Cycling Centre team, whose the official feeder team to MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung, you’ll have a chance to progress and the opportunities are there.”
“The tactic in the first few stages will be to give everyone in the team an opportunity. When we get to the mountains we’ll protects Merhawi. I believe he’s a rider who can finish on the podium and possibly win the Tour de L’Avenir,” van Zyl said.
Seibeb’s selection comes as no surprise as he recently won the EKZ Züri Metzgete in Switzerland. Dougall played a part in the victory and has also impressed since getting to Europe a few weeks ago. After getting the good news he said, “I’m super happy to be selected. If someone had told me a month ago I would be doing it I probably wouldn’t have believed it. The racing is going to be really tough. It’s 8 days and the parcours are very hilly. It’s a big race so everyone’s going to be competitive and really fighting for position and to show themselves. We expect aggressive racing.”
Several of Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung’s riders first revealed their talent in the Tour de l’Avenir. Andreas Stauff won a stage in the race in 2009 while Jaco Venter finished fourth overall the same year.