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  1. For Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka it would not be the best of days as our African Team lost Omar Fraile (pictured below), when the Basque rider had to abandon after 100km's of today's stage. Fraile crashed heavily during yesterday's stage but was still able to finish. Overnight though, the young climber picked up a fever and was not able to keep any fluid down. He started today's stage with the hope of nursing through to the finish but a really fast start meant this would not be possible and unfortunately he had no choice but to stop at the feedzone. The stage went on though and it was 4 riders who animated the 230km stage today by making the break of the day. While the stage was by no means flat, the sprinters teams were intent on bringing the race back together for a bunch sprint. This scenario would eventually materialize as with 10km to go, the race was all together. Once again our African Team was focused on delivering Kristian Sbaragli to the sprint as the final 1.5km suited our young Italian, being a slightly uphill pave surface. Sbaragli was well positioned going onto the pave but with no team really taking control of the leadout there was a slight lull in the pace which saw a number of riders swamp to the front before a left hand turn with 1km to go. Sbaragli was boxed in, lost position quickly and then there was also a crash in the corner. The sprint then opened up and Sbaragli found himself having to come from around position 20 when before the final corner he was 8th wheel. In the end our Italian had to settle for 11th place on the stage. We have to start with the bad news of the day, Omar stopped today. He had a bad night after he crashed yesterday. He threw up a couple of times in the evening and a couple of times during the race. He was feeling dizzy and had a headache, he really wasn't feeling well and you could see he was completely empty so he stopped in the feedzone. It's always a bad thing when you lose a rider in a grand tour, and more so when it is early on so we are sad to see him go. Then we went for Kristian in the sprint. He had a good position but was in the middle of the road. Some riders went past him on the left and others on the right, then he was too far back before the last corner. There was also a crash which he was behind, it didn't help the situation so it wasn't the result we were expecting from today. Jean-Pierre Heynderickx - Sport Director
  2. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka are proud to confirm our 8-rider roster for the Giro d'Italia, which will be led by our South African general classification contender, Louis Meintjes. "It's really exciting to be taking on a new challenge, having never raced the Giro d'Italia before. It is a great route, with some really tough stages. Obviously, as it's the first time we have worked towards the Giro, the build up to the race has also been new for us. I know we have worked hard and prepared well though and the target remains a strong GC result. We have a great team for the Giro, and the core of our team has been together for most of the season already. We are ready to give our all and do our best to raise awareness for Qhubeka through our performance," said Meintjes. Joining Meintjes will be the in-form Ben O'Connor, who recently won a stage of the Tour of Alps before going on to finish the race 7th overall. It will be the debut grand tour for O'Connor but based on recent results, we look forward to the 22-year-old Australian making an impact on the race while supporting Meintjes. For the sprint stages, Ryan Gibbons will return to the Giro d'Italia after his success in the big bunch gallops last year. The young South African was somewhat of a revelation in 2017, impressing with 6 top-10 placings in what was also his first ever grand tour. Taking on the supporting roles, we have a strong group of climbers in Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Natnael Berhane, Igor Anton and Ben King. Jaco Venter is the final piece to our Giro d'Italia puzzle and his versatility will make him a valuable teammate to Gibbons for the sprint stages and our climbers at certain moments in the race. Our team is really excited for this year's Giro d'Italia. Certainly, the start is quite unique with the opening stages in Israel, and logistically our plans for the Giro are already well underway. From a racing perspective, it is going to be a tough race, there are some difficult stages especially in the final week. We look forward to getting underway though and the team will start with some positive momentum after the Tour of Alps. We have high ambitions in every sense for the Giro, targeting success in the GC, on individual stages and in trying to raise funding to put 1000 girls on bicycles through the Qhubeka charity we ride for. Alex Sans Vega - Sport Director 2018 Giro d'Italia Lineup: Louis Meintjes (RSA) Ben O'Connor (AUS) Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Jacques Janse van Rensburg (RSA) Natnael Berhane (ERI) Igor Anton (ESP) Ben King (USA) Jaco Venter (RSA) Cover Image Explained The number 72 was worn by Alfonisa Strada in the 1924 Giro d’italia. She was the only woman to have ever competed and completed the Corsa Rosa Strada challenged her society and her sport, when she rode all 3,613km of the Grand Tour on the racing bike she had received as a wedding present. As Team Dimension Data embark on raising 1000 bikes for girls, we are inspired by the story of Alfonisa and how she realised her dream of racing the Giro. Please help us help 1000 girls fulfil their dreams. #1000GirlsOnBikes BicyclesChangeLives.orga
  3. Here it is, road cycling fans... the logo for the 100th edition of the most beautiful Grand Tour: http://cdn.media.cyclingnews.com/2016/10/03/1/01_logo_giro_2017_amore_infinito_colori_positivo_670.jpg Let's start previews, updates, headlines & all cool comments here!
  4. The 2nd stage of the Giro d'Italia saw the peloton leave Olbia on a 220km journey to Tortoli. With more climbing on the menu today than yesterday, our Eritrean champion, who had missed out on taking the Maglia Azzurra yesterday, set off to claim the King of the Mountains jersey. Teklehaimanot was joined by 4 others to form the main break of the day. Teklehaimanot showed no signs of fatigue after his efforts on stage 1 and proceeded to win both intermediate sprints and the main category 2 climb of the stage. This saw Teklehaimanot take the lead in the King of the Mountains competitions and pull on the coveted Maglia Azzurra after the stage. After the climb was completed, the break was absorbed back into the peloton with a 50km downhill charge to the finish-line. Nathan Haas tried an opportunist attack on the descent but the main sprinters teams were having none of it and pulled him back. Our African Team was okay with the situation though as we had Sbaragli and Gibbons, who both sprinted into the top 10 yesterday, waiting in the wings. Orica-Scott led the sprint out with 5km to go with Gibbons on the wheel the Austrailian sprinter Caleb Ewan, Sbaragli following our young South African. Gibbons did an incredible job in the wind through the final kilometer, moving Sbaragli up into the first 5 positions. The sprint then kicked off with our Italian having to go around Ewan, who had a mechanical issue. Greipel surged ahead to take the win ahead of Roberto Ferrari (UAE Emirates) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo). Sbaragli came home in 5th and Gibbons rode his impressive leadout all the way to line, claiming 7th. I want to thank the team for giving me this chance. Yesterday I tried hard in the break but I didn't get anything, today I won. I think I was a little fortunate as I was getting tired on the last climb and the peloton was coming. I just saved as much energy as I could and then gave it everything just before the top. The climb was important as it had the most points. It's unbelievable to have taken the jersey in the Tour de France and in this special 100th Giro d'Italia. It is incredible to be on the podium of these grand tours and I am very happy today. Daniel Teklehaimanot
  5. This year’s Giro d’Italia is set to be one for the yearbooks. Not only is it the centenary edition of the race, it also presents one of the strongest fields in many years. The course is beautifully designed with the opening stages on the islands of Sardinia and Sicily before moving in-land to take on the remaining part of the race. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka lines up for its second Giro d’Italia with a strong team ready to shine on all terrain. Igor Antón, Natnael Berhane and Omar Fraile will have their say in the mountains, while Kristian Sbaragli and our young South African debutant Ryan Gibbons will be the cards to play in the sprints. Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Daniel Teklehaimanot and Johann van Zyl will be important players for setting up their teammates and trying their own luck in the breaks, while Nathan Haas will have a chance to fight for glory in the undulating stages. The first three stages look to be a matter for the sprinters, even though stage two may produce a surprise winner with a late climb before a long descent towards the finishing line. After these three opening stages, the riders get their first rest day as they fly to Sicily to continue the race with a difficult mountain top finish on the Etna volcano. Two of the following four stages are made for the sprinters, while the other two both include a short uphill finish to shake things up. Another day in the mountains awaits on stage nine before the riders can enjoy yet another rest day. This time, however, they really need it in order to recharge the batteries before the 39.8 km long individual time trial on stage 10, which will have a huge impact on the general classification. The following day is an undulating stage to Bagno di Romagna, which could easily see a strong break make it all the way. The sprinters will have their final chance to shine in stage 12 and 13 before the race moves into the mountains, where it stays until the very last day. Stage 14 finishes with a 12 km long ascent up to the iconic Oropa sanctuary, while the following stage pays homage to Giro il Lombardia as the peloton takes on the same course on the final 50 km as in the Italian one-day race. Afterwards follows the final rest day of the race and, once again, the riders really need it. Stage 16 is without a doubt one of the hardest stages in this year’s Giro d’Italia - if not the hardest one. With the three infamous climbs; Mortirolo, Passo dello Stelvio and Umbrailpass on the menu, one simply can’t afford to have a bay day this grueling Tuesday. Stage 17 is another hilly day in the saddle for the riders but it’s not as difficult as the previous stage or as the two mountain top finishes that follow. The penultimate stage of the race includes two challenging category 1 climbs, which serves as the final chance for the climbers to move up in the general classification. However, nothing is settled until the last rider crosses the finishing line on the 29.3 km flat time trial from the Formula 1 course in Monza to the heart of Milano with a beautiful finish on Piazza Duomo. Lineup: Igor Antón, Natnael Berhane, Omar Fraile, Ryan Gibbons, Nathan Haas, Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Kristian Sbaragli, Daniel Teklehaimanot and Johann Van Zyl. It is a privilege to be a part of the centenary Giro d'Italia for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and we are looking forward to a spectacular race. We are really happy to take a very strong team to the Giro including 5 African riders, one of which is Ryan Gibbons, our young South African who will make his grand tour debut. This is something incredibly special for him but it also shows this team has come an incredibly long way. We have a deep passion for the Giro d'Italia and Italian cycling, and as a team we have committed to racing the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia to put 100 girls on bicycles through Qhubeka. #Giro100Girls Douglas Ryder - Team Principle This centenary Giro has a demanding parcour, particularly in the last week where the GC will certainly be decided. Before this tough final week though, there are numerous opportunities for the riders to try to win a stage. Some of those stages are pure sprint stages but others have that "little something”, typically Italian style stages which will generate some exciting finales. Our team will fight for these early stage victories but we’ll also look to use the experience of Igor Anton, who will start his 18th 3-week grand tour, together with Omar Fraile who has proven himself in the last week of a grand tour to achieve a big result. Bingen Fernandez - Sport Director
  6. ...away and as it appears neither 'Berto, Froome or Quintana are competing I am going to say this will be the year for Valverde to shine. Astana's wonder boy last year in Mikel Landa has been conspicuous by his absence from the leader board since joining Sky and in my opinion Nibali is pretty much washed up, Aru says he is planning on the TDF and Uran is so hit and miss these days I cant really consider him, so who else....Majka maybe, Pozzovivo, Hesjedal.......I dunno, he field isnt looking great so far.
  7. We still have a month left of Spring Classic, but in 5 weeks time the Giro starts in Apeldoorn (Netherlands). As a prelude to the annual Bikehub Fantasy Tour, I will be running a test version of the new scoring format. http://static2.giroditalia.it/wp-content/themes/giro/img/maglie_offseason/maglia_rosa.pnghttp://static2.giroditalia.it/wp-content/themes/giro/img/maglie_offseason/maglia_rossa.pnghttp://static2.giroditalia.it/wp-content/themes/giro/img/maglie_offseason/maglia_blu.pnghttp://static2.giroditalia.it/wp-content/themes/giro/img/maglie_offseason/maglia_bianca.png Some key changes for 2016 12 riders are allowed, but only 9 can score points (the other 3 are substitutes)Substitutions can be made on the rest daysA previously substituted rider can be re-usedPoints scored in the following categories: Daily top 20 on each stageDaily top 10 (Pink, Red and Blue jerseys only - no white)Daily Jersey holdersDaily Most Aggressive (if the Giro identifies this - it might be in another format)Daily In the Break (bonus)Daily Break finishes ahead of peloton (bonus)Final GC for each jersey (Pink, Red, Blue and White)Final Most Aggressive (if the Giro identifies this - it might be in another format)More details to following in the coming weeks... edit: points and draft rules attached (version 2 - 2016/05/04). How to score points (updated 14/04/2016) Draft Rules (version 1 updated 14/04/2016) - REMOVED! Draft Rules (version 2 updated 04/05/2016) 2016 Rules & Scoring - Fantasy Giro v2.zip Team start list (provisional) can be found at the ProcyclingStats website and Cyclingnews.com Google Sheets scoresheet has been loaded to see score breakdown. Deadline for team submissions is 12:00 on Friday, 06 May 2016.
  8. Today the riders had a long 244km haul from Muggio to Pinerolo. The only real obstacle of the day came with 20km to go, when riders had to take on the category 2 Pramartino climb. With such a parcours on the cards and two tough stages coming up in the next two days, it was the perfect stage for a breakaway. 24 riders would form the break of the day and as soon as they had 2 minutes on the peloton, that was pretty much the stage set and gone as there were no GC threats in the front group and they gap grew quickly to 12 minutes. Unfortunately, no Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders made the break and so our African Team would take advantage of the easier day in the peloton to save energy for the tough upcoming weekend and protect the GC hopes of Kanstantsin Siutsou. The break arrived at the Pramartino with a lead of 13 minutes, Brambilla and Moser clearly had the best legs on the climb as they went clear half way up the 5km ascent. There was a small chase group of 4 riders that formed behind them but after a short 500m cobbled kicker, Trentin manged to get away on his own and was in pursuit of the two leaders with 4km to go. It looked like Brambilla and Moser would decide the stage but in the final moments, Trentin got across with 300m to go and started his sprint immediately. Moser had no response while Brambilla enjoyed watching his team mate take the win. For our African Team, it was all about keeping Siutsou's top 10 GC aspirations alive over the Pramartino. The team did a great job protecting Siutsou all day and then delivering him to a good position for the climb. The peloton was reduced to just 20 of the top GC riders and Siutsou was there accompanied by Igor Anton for support as well. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) who started the stage in 11th on GC, just 18 seconds behind Siutsou, was dropped on the climb and so Anton contributed to the pace setting to help put time between Siutsou and the 11th position. In the end, Siutsou came home with all the other GC favourites and the gap back to 11th now sits at 2'38". I have never experienced anything like this stage of the Giro d'Italia in a grand tour before. You think on a stage like today you start easy, there goes a big breakaway and that's it. But, everyday has been full gas and today from 150km it was one line in the peloton. Our boys did a fantastic job, like Jay, Jaco and everybody else to keep me protected in the line. I never suffered or had to wait for a bidon or anything. Before the climb they kept me in position and after the climb Igor did a job for me to protect my general classification position. I am a little bit tired but we will just see how the next two days go, after that we can relax. Kanstantsin Siutsou - Rider
  9. The 196km stage from Molveno to Cassano d'Adda looked on paper to be an opportunity for the sprinters, and after yesterday's tough stage that's pretty much how things would play out. 3 riders still tried their luck by jumping into the early breakaway. They were allowed no more than 4 minutes’ advantage by LottoNL-Jumbo, which was a gap small enough for the sprint teams to control later on. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and Trek Segafredo were the two teams that eventually took responsibility for the chase. As the race reached the final 20 kilometers 3 more riders tried their luck by riding across the now, 1-minute gap to the leaders. Johann van Zyl, Igor Anton, Jay Thomson and Jaco Venter had things under control though and the gap kept on coming down. With 6km to go, Kristian Sbaragli was placed on the wheel of Nizzolo as the race finished with a tight technical run in, through numerous roundabouts. The 6 leaders made things quite difficult though for the peloton and only gave in with 1.5km to go. Fillipo Pozzato (Willier-Southeast) then attacked with 1km to go and got a small gap which Kluge bridged across to with 500m to go, and then countered straight away. The German pulled clear and there was not enough organisation from any one particular sprint train to stop the IAM cycling rider from taking the win. He sat up with 25m to go to enjoy his victory. Sbaragli was looking for his way through in the final 500m but with no real gaps and not enough pace at the front. It was difficult to get through and when the sprint opened up for him, you could see the past week with bronchitis had taken its toll on our Italian fast man. He crossed the line in 12th position. Kanstantsin Siutsou, our GC contender finished in the peloton to keep 10th place overall. We tried to arrive for the sprint but the final was a bit chaotic. All I can I say as I don't really have the condition after being a bit sick. I could not find my legs and wasn't able to sprint today. Now it is just about making it to the end of the Giro. Kristian Sbaragli - Rider
  10. With the start taking place in Bressanone, it was only a 132km stage but probably one of the fastest and most action packed stages of this year's Giro. Attacks flew from the peloton as soon as the race saw the flag drop at kilometre zero. Nothing got away until we reached the first of 2 big climbs, the Mendelpass, which began after 50km. The pace was so high though that the race reached the base of the climb in less than an hour. Our Igor Anton actually started the climb with a small gap but the likes of Valverde and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) decided to throw even more fuel onto the fiery start and attacked from the base. All the GC contenders then got in on the action, putting the pink jersey, Kruisjwijk, under pressure. He was equal to the challengers though and responded to all the moves, and later counter attacked near the top of the climb to form a group of 10 leaders. Our African Team were on high alert as we tried to protect Kanstantsin Siutsou in order to conserve his top 10 GC placing overall. There was a rolling descent to the start of the final big climb of the day, Fai Della Paganella, which peaked with just 9.5km to go. On the climb the first to make a move was in fact the race leader, Kruisjwijk. He blew the break to pieces and in the end it was only Zakarin and Valverde that could respond. Further down the road there were two other distinct chase groups, all only separated by a matter of 2 minutes. In group 1 there were the likes of Esteban Chaves (Orica-Greenedge) and Nibali. Siutsou was in the 2nd group along with Andrey Amador (Movistar) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) among others. It would pretty much remain status quo from here on in. Valverde took a good win and Siutsou came home with his group, 3'20" down but 18th on the day and now 10th on the overall GC. That wasn't so easy today. It was a deceptive start as we thought it was a lot flatter than it really was, we were doing 60km/h for the first 45 minutes and then we already hit the bottom of the first climb. Then it was just game on. I think it was Movistar who started the troubles. To be honest I don't really know what went on after that, I was just looking for wheels trying to make sure I just got the finish. It was not an easy day and as you can see, only 43 guys made it to the finish under 17 minutes behind the front guys, the rest being in the grupetto's. It's really great to see Kanstantsin kept his top 10 on GC. I tried to help him as much as I could before the bottom of the first climb but after that he was all by himself and man alone, so it was also a hard day for him today. I'm really happy for him though, I hope he can keep on improving and you never know what lies ahead. On the weekend there are 2 super hard days coming so we look forward to then and see what he can do there. Jay Thomson - Rider
  11. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka went into today's stage with the primary objective being for Kanstantsin Siutsou to keep his general classification hopes alive. For the rest of our African Team, the time trial discipline is not particularly their forte and so the team aimed to get around the technical 40.5km course in Chianti without expending too much energy. The early starters all enjoyed some good weather conditions and Jay Thomson (pictured above), our South African strongman, was even able to hit 90km/h on some of the descents after being one of the first riders off. Just as Thomson reached the finish though, the rain started to fall out on course and this would make things particularly difficult for the main contenders who started later in the day. Siutsou was one of the riders who had to bear the brunt of the worst weather and reaching speeds of 90km/h was no longer an option for the GC contenders on the wet roads. Roglic was one of the fortunate riders to do most of his time trial on dry roads and so his mark of 51'45" would not be beaten. Siutsou, like many others, had a tough time on the wet roads and finished 4'35" down on Roglic. Igor Anton was our African Team's best placed rider on the day, as he finished 4'07" down. After today's time trial, Siutsou retained his 17th position on the overall classification as we head into the 2nd rest day of this year’s Giro d’Italia. Today's individual time trial was actually a really nice course but when the GC boys had to do their stuff it was kind of monsoon type weather. For myself it was just a day to get through but for Kanstantsin and Igor the weather didn't play so nice for them. At least they stayed upright and everybody made it through to the rest day. So now we can rest and recharge the batteries for what is to come because the next 12 stages are pretty tough on the GC side of things. We need to recover and reset, and look forward to going with Kristian for the next 3 days, aiming for a stage victory and then all attention on the mountains for Kanstantsin. Jay Thomson - Rider
  12. The 186km stage from Foligno to Arezzo didn't start off in the best way for our African Team as our GC hope, Kanstantsin Siutsou crashed inside the first 6km of the stage. Thankfully Siutsou was able to pick himself up and got back to the peloton with the help of his teammates. After 15km's of racing, riders started a technical descent while the rain came down. It was here that the break of the day went clear and Venter made the selection with 12 other riders. The big lead group were able to ride ahead into a 5-minute lead as Giant-Alpecin tried to control the gap. The main feature of the stage was the 6km dirt road climb that topped out with just 19km to go. The break reached the climb with a 3-minute lead and Brambilla rode away from the rest of the break right from the begining of the climb. Venter rode an intelligent race and kept a constantly hard tempo going on the dirt. Behind, the main group also sprung to life as they reached the climb and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was the one to attack and split the race to pieces. Siutsou did his best to follow the favourites but found himself in the 2nd group for the majority of the climb. Up ahead, Brambilla was out of sight and out of mind while Venter went over the top of the climb with 3 of the other early breakaway riders, the rest were all caught and passed by the Valverde group of favourites. At the finish, Brambilla took a nice win and also pulled on the pink leader’s jersey for his efforts. Venter was able to hold off the Valverde group on the descent to the finish and crossed the line in a terrific 4th place. Siutsou came home with the 2nd main group and dropped to 17th on the general classification but the top 10 is still only 30 seconds away. I am super happy about today, it was a hard start. There was storm at the start and I wasn't planning on going in the break, I was just riding in front to stay safe. I saw some groups going on the downhill and I just followed the wheels and then I was in the group. It was hard because there was a group that contained Nibali just behind us so we had to push for the first hour. We got a gap and worked well, some guys were taking some chances but we rode well. I knew the climb as we rode it in recon a few weeks ago but I wasn't expecting to stay away. I wasn't feeling too good at the start of the climb but as it went on I felt better. Over the top I was in 5th or 6th, with a small group. On the descent I did some crazy Moto GP riding and was able to race for 3rd place from a group, and I ended 2nd from that group and 4th on the stage which I am really happy about. Jaco Venter - Rider
  13. For Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka the stage was all about supporting Kristian Sbaragli during today's 211km stage. 6 riders went up the road, forming the break of the day. They were not allowed much leeway at all and the sprinters teams were not going to let an opportunity pass them by with not all that many sprint stages remaining. The only point of concern for the pure sprinters was the category 4 climb that would summit with 40km to go. It was here that our African Team tried to play one of its cards by putting the team on the front in order to put some of the big name sprinters into difficulty, with Sbaragli not having a problem to get over such climbs. The plan almost worked as Kittel was distanced but with there being a tailwind on the climb, the difference was not all that significant and the race came back together. The riders up front in the break were also, as expected, reeled in by the charging peloton and a sprint finale would decide the stage. Sbaragli went into the last kilometer in a pretty good position, being 7th wheel. As the road veered to the right, Greipel pulled away to take a strong win. Sbaragli who was 6th with 50m to go, didn't have much space in front of him to move up while the riders who flanked him were able to just nudge ahead. Our Italian ended the stage in 11th place, while you could throw a blanket over position 4 thru 16. Kanstantsin Siutsou was able to gain a place on the general classification and moved up to 9th overall, when he placed himself on the right side of a small split that happened in the final kilometer. It was quite a long stage and we tried to make the final climb as hard as we could. It was bit too easy, the climb. Everybody was able to come back before the finish. I had quite a good position but it's possible that I was a little too far back in the final corner and the finish was right after the corner. I wasn't able to sprint for a top result, so I am a bit disappointed but we look forward to the next stages. Kristian Sbaragli - Rider
  14. Today was the first real mountain stage of the Giro d'Italia as riders took on 157km from Ponte to Roccaraso. There were 2 category 2 climbs to be dealt with today with the finish being at the top of the final category 2 climb. Initially there was 3 riders who formed the break of the day but 1 rider would get dropped on the first cat 2 climb and then after a tricky descent, 3 riders from the peloton took their chance to jump across the 2-minute gap to make it 5 riders in the lead, with 70km to go. Wellens, Pim Ligthart (Lotto-Soudal) and Laurent Didier (Trek-Segafredo) were the 3 opportunists who joined Eugbert Zhupa (Willier-Southeast) and Alessandro Bisolti (Nippo-Vini Fantini) at the front. The peloton allowed the gap to balloon to over 8 minutes before Giant-Alpecin and Orica-Greenedge started to ride on the front. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were protecting Merhawi Kudus and Siutsou for the final climb, which began with around 18km to go. With 13km to go, Wellens attacked and dropped his breakaway counterparts. With the peloton over 4'30" behind, the stage looked to be in the bag for Wellens for quite some time. A little further down the road the action began in the main group when Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) attacked with 7km to go and Siutsou followed shortly after. Siutsou had to close a gap of around 30 seconds to Fuglsang but when he did, the duo went off in pursuit of the lead riders. Siutsou and Fuglsang caught and passed all the riders up the road except for Wellens who went on to take a nice win. A few late attacks saw the main group thin out drastically and Zakarin and Dumoulin were able to come across to Siutsou and Fuglsang with 1km to go. The quartet crossed the line together with Siutsou taking a fine 5th place for our African Team, he also moved up to 10th on the overall GC. Igor Anton also did a really good ride after playing a support role to our Belorussian throughout the day, and he finished 16th to end off a good day for our African Team. It was a unique situation because normally Astana would start the final climb fast. When you see their 2nd rider attack, Fuglsang, and they normally ride for Nibali, you need to understand the situation. It was one I have seen many times before and nobody was following him because it was a reduced group. I wanted to follow him immediately but I didn't have space to move out of the group. So he had 30 seconds but I attacked and tried to control my pace when going across to him. When I reached him he tried to put me under pressure by going really hard but I just remained calm. The climb was very up and down and the flat piece was really windy but I was always focused and staying calm and patient, knowing the group behind are going to react soon because we had 45 seconds. Then we just went as hard as we could and waited to see who would arrive. Zakarin and Dumoulin came with 1km to go. I wasn't really feeling great in the last kilometers but then in the final when I had to close a small gap I could feel there was still something left in the legs. This was really good for the head, it showed me it is possible to stay in the front the next days, I just need to try. Kanstantsin Siutsou - Rider
  15. The 200km stage from Catanzaro to Praia a Mare turned out to be a lot harder than what it looked on paper. 4 riders went clear in the opening kilometers of the race but Nippo Vini-Fantini weren't all that happy on missing the move and so they would chase at the head of the peloton for the next 70km, bringing the gap down from 2'40" to just 50". They then had a rider try to jump across the gap but their tactic proved to be fruitless. The fast start meant riders would reach the final undulating 70 kilometers of the stage with anything but fresh legs. There were 2 category 3 climbs as well 3 unclassified climbs to contend with before the finish line was reached and this was the setting for an attacking finale. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were riding in support of Kristian Sbaragli today, in the hope that our Italian would be able to make it over the climbs in order to sprint from a small group. The 4 early leaders were caught on the final cat 3 climb and with 50km to go. Numerous attacks then followed by riders from the peloton and eventually 2 AG2R La Mondiale riders went clear. A large group of 17 riders rode across to them while the peloton chased at around 30" in arrears. Sbaragli was part of the peloton and he still had Kanstantsin Siutsou, Igor Anton and Merhawi Kudus for support. The breakaway riders began to attack one another as Movistar took up the chase in the peloton. Eventually 7 riders went clear while the rest from the break were absorbed back into the peloton. With 10km to go, the race hit a sharp 1.5km climb and this is where Ulissi took his chance and attacked the 6 other riders he was with. The Italian got a small gap and started the final 8km descent to the line with a 30" lead over the chasing pack, which was now comprised of 25 riders. Our African Team only had Siutsou in the select group with Sbaragli, Kudus and Anton chasing in the 2nd group. Ulissi was able to do enough to hold on for the victory by 5 seconds. Siutsou crossed the line as our best placed rider in 15th as a disappointed Sbaragli came in just 30 seconds later. By finishing 2nd, Dumoulin took over the race leaders pink jersey. Our main objective was to have Kristian there for the sprint. We missed that when at 8km to go there was a small gap of maybe 30 meters between him and the front group. Igor tried to fight back with Kristian on his wheel but finally they were just a few meters behind and Ulissi won the stage. Kanstantsin was our best placed rider in 15th from a front group of 25 and in the next group was Kristian and Igor. We hoped for more than this especially with Kristian but the boys rode well. It was a really tough day with a really difficult final, always up and down and the racing was an open fire. Jens Zemke - Sport Director
  16. Today's 190km stage had a number of similarities to yesterday's stage, with an early escape also going clear almost from the gun. 4 riders got the jump and there were 2 familiar faces in Maarten Tjallingii (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Giacomo Berlato (Nippo-Vini Fantini), both riders were part of the break yesterday as well. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka also had representation in the move once again and today it was in the form of our South African, Johann van Zyl. Julen Amezqueta (Willier-Southeast) was the final rider making up the escape quartet. Like yesterday, the stage was almost totally flat with just one categorised climb coming midway through the stage. As Tjallingii picked up 2 points behind our King of the Mountains victor, Omar Fraile, yesterday, the Dutchman was set to take over the Blue Jersey as long he wasn't 4th across the summit of today's climb. Tjallingii made no mistakes and took maximum points on offer and also the jersey. Attention was now focused on the stage result and everybody was once again expecting a sprint finish. With 20km to go, the 4 leaders had 2'13" on the peloton and there was a slight sense of belief that the quartet could make it to the line. A crash in the peloton did not help the cause of main bunch in their efforts to chase down the leaders and Van Zyl still had something left in the tank to give. Our South African attacked his 3 breakaway counterparts with 12km to go and with the peloton just 45" behind. He was able to open the gap back up to 1 minute just briefly before Etixx-Quickstep and the other sprinters teams really started to ramp up the pace in the peloton. Van Zyl had 34" with 5km to go and although @VanSnail is his social media handle and team nickname, he was certainly travelling a lot faster than a Snail's pace. Unfortunately, after a brave and courageous effort, Van Zyl was caught with 1.8km to go and the sprinters would have their day. Our African Team had birthday boy, Kristian Sbaragli, in the thick of the action once again. As Kittel sprinted to the stage victory and also into the overall pink leader’s jersey, our Italian had another solid ride to cross the line in 6th place for our African Team. It was a long day. For the first half of the race it was more or less a headwind so we had to time our effort smartly. After the feedzone we started riding harder and harder. With a tailwind and 6-minute lead we knew we could get quite far if we rode smart but the guys were saving energy for the mountain sprint so they weren't really committing. Once we got onto the local laps we rode as hard as we could and I attacked them with about 12km to go. I don't know if the guys just didn't want to commit anymore or if they were just tired but I knew I had to go now. I went as hard as I could and I ended up being 1 or 2 kilometers short, next time. Johann van Zyl - Rider We had the perfect game plan today. Johann was committed, he put his hand up this morning in the meeting and said he wanted to give it a shot. He knew it was going to be super difficult with Kittel chasing the seconds, they weren't going to give up the stage for free, but he wanted to try. His solo attack was really nice to see, there was absolutely a chance that he was going to make it but the race was just 1 kilometer too long for us today. The really good thing is the guys are just so committed and they are really trying, you can't expect more than that and you could also see Johann's talent. He is still young, it is just the 2nd stage of the Giro d'Italia and he doesn't save anything, he was just flat out and that is really nice to see. Rolf Aldag - Head of Performance
  17. Racing got underway with our Basque rider, Fraile, jumping into the early break of the day together with Martin Tjallingii (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Giacomo Berlato (Nippo Vini Fantini) from kilometer zero. The 3 riders combined well to build up a maximum lead of 10 minutes over the peloton as the stage made its way from Arnhem to Nijmegen, covering a total of 190km. Giant-Alpecin were the team controlling the pace from the main bunch for their race leader, Tom Dumoulin. It was a predominantly flat stage but there was a single King of the Mountains prime which came after 155km of racing. It would be an important sprint as the first rider over the 'Berg en Dal' climb would be awarded the first King of the Mountains jersey of this year’s Giro d'Italia. Fraile and his two breakaway mates arrived at the foot of the climb with a lead of 2'40" over the peloton and so it was obvious the winner would come from one of the three. The trio went side by side until about 500m to go where the sprint then opened up, Fraile had little trouble in crossing the line first with a superior sprint, to take the first Mountain points of this year’s race. It would mark yet another incredible day in the history of our African Team, being the first jersey we have worn in our first appearance at the Italian grand tour. With the jersey secured, Fraile and Tjallingii returned to the peloton with 20km to go and Berlato was reeled in with 10km to go to set up a sprint finale. Our African Team had Kristian Sbaragli right in the mix for the finish, dueling with big name bunch sprinters. FDJ led out the sprint but it was Kittel who easily took the win ahead of Arnaud Demare (FDJ) who placed 2nd. Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) took 3rd place and our Italian sprinter, Sbaragli, also did a solid sprint to take 8th on the stage, ending off an incredible day for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. It was an objective of the team to get the jersey today. With it being the first day it was possible to be on the podium by going for the jersey and because it is our first Giro, the first time for an African Team here, we really wanted to be on the podium. For me it was a good opportunity to be in the break and in the mountain I was able to do a good sprint to get the jersey. I am really happy to have this jersey now after a really nice day. I really enjoyed the stage, the crowds were great. Omar Fraile - Rider It is absolutely fantastic to have taken the jersey. It is our goal to be visible and aggressive and to do as much as we can in the race so for Omar to go out there and do it as was planned this morning, it is just incredible. To talk about something and then to go and do it is exceptional. To have a guy who has just come off winning the King of the Mountains at the Vuelta a Espana, come to the Giro d'Italia and to wear the leaders’ jersey in the King of the Mountains again, it just shows what kind of rider he is and also how committed we are to show our team and put Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka on the world stage. Douglas Ryder - Team Principal
  18. In our debut Giro d'Italia, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka was motivated to race in front of the huge Apeldoorn crowd despite our African Team not having a specialist against the clock. With the start taking place inside the magnificent Apeldoorn Velodrome, it was a great spectacle to be a part of. Jaco Venter (pictured above) set a good early time over the 9.8km course for our African Team by coming across the finish-line in a time of 11'49", which would be an average speed of 50km/h. Roglic looked pretty comfortable in the hot seat, that was until Dumoulin started his effort. After passing the intermediate time check 2 seconds faster than anyone else, Dumoulin went on to set the fastest time, beating the mark set by Roglic by just a few hundredths of a second. For our African Team, Kanstantsin Siutsou was our last rider to come home and he would also be our best placed finisher on the stage as well. Siutsou set a time of 11'43", just 40 seconds slower than Dumoulin's winning effort. All the other riders on our squad had no issues out on the course and we now look forward to tomorrow’s first road stage of the Giro d'Italia. Today was a short and fast race, as all prologue time trials are. I was really excited to get the Giro d'Italia started. I didn't make any big mistakes and the course wasn't that technical. I'm not too sure yet of my time but I know I can be happy with my result as I did my best. I am happy with how the day went. Merhawi Kudus - Rider The most important thing of today is we got everybody home safe. It was a super nice experience to see Holland in pink. There were a lot of fans on the side of the road cheering the riders on. There are another 20 days to go for us, we started to get into our routine today and now we have two more days in Holland before we make our transfer down to Italy. Rolf Aldag - Head of Performance
  19. Qhubeka is a non-profit organisation that takes its name from an Nguni word that means “to carry on”, “to progress”, “to move forward”. Qhubeka believes that bicycles change lives through helping to overcome the barrier of distance and time. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka believes that #BicyclesChangeLives too. Qhubeka is the reason we clip in and ride, the incentive to go out and train, and our motivation to win races. You might have noticed the Qhubeka logo on our jersey and in our name, but have you noticed the hands in the logo? The hands are a reminder that Qhubeka is about a hand up, not hand-out. Every person who receives a bicycle through a Qhubeka programme works to earn it, whether through improving their environment, community or academic results.This is also why as a team we give a five-finger salute when we win races. It’s a symbolic reminder to us that through raising awareness and funds for Qhubeka we are helping to change lives through bicycles. The five fingers also remind us of our 5 000 bicycle goal for the year and that each bicycle we help fund will impact up to five lives. “I'm looking forward to ride my first Giro d'Italia,” says Omar Fraile (pictured above, giving the five-finger salute). “It will be my first Grand Tour for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and I'll do my best to represent the team out front, especially when the road goes up. Being able to show the big ‘Q’ with the green hand and raise awareness for our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign is a big motivation for me in this regard.” Every time you see Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka racing during the month of May we want you to “Take 5” with us to increase our impact: 5 Fingers We will be raising our five fingers any time we cross the finish line first, but we’d like to invite you raise five fingers any time you see at one of our races. It will motivate us to ride even harder not just for you – our fans – but for the people who are waiting for a bicycle through Qhubeka. 5 dollars Head over to bicycleschangelives.org and donate $5 (or the equivalent in your local currency) to our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign. Every little bit counts and your donation will make a difference and help us reach our 5 000 bicycle goal. Each bicycle you help us fund impacts five lives. “Give 5” t-shirt As a memento of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s first appearance in the Giro d’Italia, Qhubeka has produced a limited edition “Give 5” t-shirt. Five Euro/Dollars/Pounds will be donated to Qhubeka for each t-shirt sold. If you’d like to purchase a shirt, click here. 5 minutes If you have five minutes, download our facebook header and add it to your page, add a twibbon on twitter or write a post about us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (Download some awesome graphics and photos to use here). Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka at the 2016 Giro d’Italia The Giro d'Italia is yet another amazing opportunity for our African Team to share our #BicyclesChangeLives message with the world. We are delighted to announce our nine-rider roster that will represent Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka over the coming three weeks. We are also really proud that five of our African riders will start, including the South African national champion, Jaco Venter. He will get to show off the national jersey at the Giro d'Italia for the first time since 2012. Riders will be tested to their limits over the 21 stages that make up the 99th edition of the Giro d'Italia. For further details on each of the stages, click here.
  20. Professional cycling is a sport where marginal gains make a big difference. That’s why this May, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is inviting you to “Take 5” with us. By joining in our Take 5 campaign, you can help us to reach our goal of funding 5 000 bicycles through Qhubeka for people in Africa who need them to access education, healthcare and economic opportunity. Click here to view the article
  21. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka are all set to start this year's Giro d'Italia, which gets underway on 6 May in Apeldoorn, Holland. It will be the first time our African Team start the Italian Grand Tour, making it a significant moment for our team and for African cycling in general. Click here to view the article
  22. The Giro d'Italia is yet another amazing opportunity for our African Team to share our #BicyclesChangeLives message to the world and so we are delighted to announce our 9 rider roster that will represent Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka over the coming 3 weeks. We are also really proud that 5 of our African riders will start, including the South African national champion, Jaco Venter. He will get to show off the national jersey at the Giro d'Italia for the first time since 2012. Riders will be tested to their limits over the 21 stages that make up the 99th edition of the Giro d'Italia and for further details on each of the stages, click here. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka Giro d'Italia 2016 Squad Merhawi Kudus (22 years - Eritrea) [Profile] Kanstantsin Siutsou (33 years - Belarus) [Profile] Igor Anton (33 years - Spain) [Profile] Omar Fraile (25 years - Spain) [Profile] Kristian Sbaragli (25 years -Italy) [Profile] Jaco Venter (29 years - South Africa) [Profile] Johann van Zyl (25 years - South Africa) [Profile] Jay Thomson (30 years - South Africa) [Profile] Songezo Jim (25 years - South Africa) [Profile] We did a big push to get into the Giro d’Italia in 2014 as our first Grand Tour as Africa’s cycling team and it was not to be, so to be standing on the start line in 2016 is massive for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. Starting in Holland to is incredible as we had a great Tour de France last year, when we started in Utrecht. We have selected an amazing team with 7 riders new to the Giro and 2 riders, Igor Anton and Kanstantsin Siutsou, who have 10 Giro’s between them with the latter one riding into the top 10 before and winning a stage. Both riders will play leading roles in this team in support both on and off the bike. To have 5 riders from Africa in this team racing their first Giro is a dream come true for us, as well as for our young Italian Kristian Sbaragli and Basque Omar Fraile. We hope to make an impact that matters. Douglas Ryder - Team Principal We're extremely happy to celebrate our first appearance at the Giro d'Italia. Our riders are ready, we have an incredibly motivated group of people who are ready to leave their mark in one of the biggest races of the year. Starting a grand tour in Holland is always very special, because it is one of the moments where the tradition and the respect of the Dutch meet the history of more than 100 years of bike racing. Rolf Aldag - Head of Performance The team has been based in Italy for a number of years and to be able to race the Giro d'Italia now, well it has always been a big goal for me and the team. It will also be my first grand tour wearing the South African champions jersey which is really special. Racing so close to my European base, it feels like it is a home race for me. We have a strong team for the Giro so we are hoping for some good results and some good weather. Jaco Venter - Rider
  23. Spain's Alberto Contador reinforced his bid for overall victory at the Giro d'Italia by snatching precious bonus seconds at the end of the 12th stage won in timely fashion by Belgian Philippe Gilbert. Click here to view the article
  24. Spain's Alberto Contador retained the lead of the Giro d'Italia after Wednesday's 11th stage won by the Katusha team's Russian rider Ilnur Zakarin. Click here to view the article
  25. VISIT WWW.SIDIONLINE.CO.ZA NOW! GIRO D’ITALIA: SIDI SPORT IN PINK AND RED Rigoberto Uran wears the pink jersey and Nacer Bouhanni the red Maser (Treviso), May 26, 2014 – The final phase of the 2014 Giro d’Italia is approaching. After the third rest day the Giro will enter its third week and will no doubt offer plenty of excitement. The Sidi Sport colors are pink and red. The pink is that of the Giro leader’s jersey, which, after victory in the Barolo time trial and the first climbs, rests comfortably on the shoulders of Rigoberto Uran. Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Colombian leads the classification by 1’03” over the Australian Cadel Evans and 1’50” over the Pole Rafal Majka. It is a good margin for Uran, but the race is still wide open! The red is that of Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ), the fast man of this Giro, who, thanks to three stage wins, wears the red jersey of the leader of the points classification. Assisting these two extraordinary champions and all the other Sidi athletes participating in the Giro are the lightweight, durable and high-performance Wire shoes, the top-of-the-line model in Sidi’s road cycling collection. The road to Trieste is still long, with many hidden dangers: three mountaintop finishes, including the terrible Zoncolan, as well as the time trial up Monte Grappa. Race leader Uran and the other Sidi champions will give their all, and Sidi will be there with them as they ride, fight and win! Attached are photos of Rigoberto Uran and Nacer Bouhanni in action on the roads of the Giro with their Sidi Wire shoes!
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