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  1. It was a pretty cold and grim day in the Flanders region as the peloton took on the 207km Belgian Classic. 6 riders escaped early on and they got some good T.V. coverage but the Scheldeprijs is known as the sprinters classic and so the fast men made sure they weren't going to be denied their chance at victory today. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were the team that took control of the race and Jay Thomson would put in an incredible ride to manage the gap to the break for the majority of the race. Our African Team did not receive much assistance at all from any of the other teams but our boys were up for the task at hand and rode well as a unit. Mark Cavendish, as a 3-time winner of the Scheldeprijs, was our protected rider for the finish and the team ensured Cavendish was always in prime position throughout the day. As we entered Schoten, and 3 laps of a 16km circuit were to be completed, the wind picked up and so did the speed of the race. Jay Thomson and Matt Brammeier did some monster turns on the front of the peloton and this saw a number of riders being dropped from the peloton as the break was also reeled in well before the finish. Due to the pressure being applied by our African Team the group actually split on a number of occasions but it kept regrouping as no other team was willing to come and help set the pace. Finally, in the final 5km Etixx-Quickstep came to the front with fresh legs and our African Team placed Cavendish on the wheel of Kittel. Tyler Farrar was always present as well, supporting Cavendish into the final kilometer. The sprint then opened up with Etixx leading it out. Cavendish started coming around Kittel but the German just had that little bit more in the final few meters to win by a rim's length from Cavendish. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka did a great job for me today. Jay Thomson was controlling it from the beginning. When we hit the circuits the team made sure I was always in the best position at the decisive points. It was getting wet and windy at the end and we thought it might split near the finish but the guys did an incredible job to keep me up there obviously. We wanted Reinie and Tyler there with me for the final but they had a job to do earlier on. At the end I had Tyler, and we talked about it before, if we didn't have a team anymore then Tyler would make sure he was with me in case I had any trouble. I was a little bit late going actually, when I saw 150m I thought there was still 50 more meters so I thought I better go now. I came with some good speed and when I came alongside Kittel I thought I had the better of him. When I was alongside him though he was just able to pull that little bit more out, it was something I was used to be able to do but not anymore. What can I say, it was Marcel Kittel that beat me so we can be happy with how the team rode. Obviously I am disappointed to not be able to finish their work off but we can take confidence from riding well together. Mark Cavendish - Rider It was a good race. The team rode really well and fought hard for Mark. The plan was to get him onto Kittel’s leadout and do the sprint from there. Mark said he just misjudged how far he was from the finish but it looked like he was coming back pretty well. I am pleased that the team was strong, they rode like a team and they rode from the front. Roger Hammond - Sport Director
  2. The Scheldeprijs, a spring classic for the sprinters, takes in 208km of the small Flanders roads but the parcours steers clear of the traditional Hellingen climbs. The race ends with 3 laps of a 16.8km circuit in Schoten, making it the ideal race for the sprinters. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will start with a strong team as Mark Cavendish returns to racing with Mark Renshaw, Bernhard Eisel, Matt Brammeier, Tyler Farrar, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Nicolas Dougall and Jay Thomson all set to pin on race numbers tomorrow as well. However, Mark Renshaw is still suffering from the effects of his high speed crash at Ronde van Vlaanderen and a decision will be taken in the morning as to whether Renshaw can start or not. Our African Team will have a team well-rehearsed for the 104th edition of the Scheldeprijs as Cavendish is a 3-time winner of the event while Farrar has also stood on the top step of the podium in Schoten. Drawing from their experience, our African Team will target the victory once again. Scheldeprijs is the Belgian sprinters classic. While it still throws some cobbles, small roads and wind at us, traditionally it is decided in a field sprint. Really, it's the last chance for the fast men to shine in the cobbled classics before the beat down of Paris-Roubaix. Tyler Farrar - Rider
  3. The medical results have indicated too that Cavendish will also have been unknowingly training and racing with EBV over recent months, and as a result of these findings he has been advised to rest in order to fully recover ahead of a return to training. Cavendish said, “This season I’ve not felt physically myself and despite showing good numbers on the bike I have felt that there’s been something not right. Given this and on the back of these medical results, I'm glad to now finally have some clarity as to why I haven't been able to perform at my optimum level during this time. Having received expert medical advice as a result of the findings I’ve been advised to take a period of total rest in order to fully recover. I’m now looking forward to taking the time necessary in order to get back to 100% fitness before then returning to racing again at peak physical condition. I’d like to thank everyone for the incredible support I’ve received and I look forward to seeing you all out on the road again soon.” As and when there is a further update on Mark’s return to racing we will provide an update.
  4. The 32-year-old fell heavily after striking a bollard and was immediately assisted by race medical personnel, after which he was taken to a local hospital. Following medical imaging, it was determined that he avoided major injury in the incident. He did sustain a new rib fracture (5th) on the same side as the one that he damaged in the opening stage of Tirreno-Adriatico (7th). He also has bruising and abrasions consistent with the scale of the crash as well as a possible “ligamentous ankle injury” that will require further assessment once he returns home on Saturday. The team would like to extend a big thanks to everybody who has sent messages of concern; and we will keep you updated as and when, should additional information become available.
  5. The 32-year-old got back onto his bike after crashing and completed the stage, where he was immediately treated by Dr. Jarrad van Zuydam on the team bus. Preliminary examination revealed no concussive symptoms but Cavendish did complain of pain in his chest which the medical staff ruled warranted further investigation at a local hospital. “Unfortunately Mark was involved in a crash with about 5kms to go in yesterday's team time trial. He came down pretty hard at around 55km/h and he sustained multiple abrasions and soft tissue injuries to his knees, hips, hands and some swelling on his face as well; but he had a lot of rib pain which we went to x-ray, and found that he has a fracture of the seventh rib on the right side. “The fracture’s nice and stable and should heal well,” he said. “The plan was to let him start stage two but unfortunately it was ruled he finished outside the time limit and so won’t be allowed to take the start,” said van Zuydam. Cavendish expressed his gratitude for the messages of support he and the team had received since the incident. “Thanks, as always, to everyone that’s sent messages, it’s hugely appreciated. It’s frustrating to have crashed, particularly in light of the concussion that I sustained in Abu Dhabi, but I’m just pleased that there’s no major damage done. “Despite the pain from my injury I was really looking forward to a fast second stage and naturally disappointed that I’m not going to be a part of it."
  6. The jersey changes to predominantly green and white with the bib shorts remaining classic black. Still emblazoned on the back is the now familiar Q trademark of Qhubeka. Kudos must be given to the team’s naming right partners for continuing with the benevolent promotion of such a unique cause on the jersey. Oakley, the apparel manufacturer, will complete the almost head-to-toe covering of the Didata athletes as they prepare to launch their helmet range with the team in 2018. The fresh simple look of the jersey also sees a departure from the customary é on the shoulders to the full wordmark of Cervélo across the sleeves. A once off print of the portrait has been elegantly framed in white and being sold to raise further funds for the team’s charity, Qhubeka. The portrait is on display at the Cervélo booth at the Rouleur Classic until Saturday 4 November.
  7. Close up of Cavendish crash Official Statement from the Tour on Peter Sagan disqualification: https://twitter.com/NBCSNCycling/status/882286213159374848 Sagan's comment after the race: Last kilometre Results Results on Stage 4:1 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ 4:53:54 2 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin 3 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal 4 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 5 Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie 6 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal 7 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 8 Manuele Mori (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 9 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal 10 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors Overall results after Stage 4 1 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 14:54:25 2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:12 3 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 4 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data 0:00:16 5 Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:25 6 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors 0:00:30 7 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky 0:00:32 8 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 9 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ 0:00:33 10 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb 0:00:34
  8. Peter Sagan rejected to have caused, or in any way intended to cause the crash of Mark Cavendish on the final 200m of the stage. Peter stayed on his line in the sprint and could not see Cavendish on the right side. The team applied for a redress of Peter Sagan's result in stage 4. In the sprint I didn’t know that Mark Cavendish was behind me. He was coming from the right side, and I was trying to go on Kristoff’s wheel. Mark was coming really fast from the back and I just didn’t have time to react and to go left. He came into me and he went into the fence. When I was told after the finish that Mark had crashed, I went straight away to find out how he was doing. We are friends and colleagues in the peloton and crashes like that are never nice. I hope Mark recovers soon. Peter Sagan Update: The appeal by BORA – hansgrohe has been refused. I can only accept the decision of the jury, but I disagree. I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong in the sprint Peter Sagan Watch the incident between Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan here.
  9. On paper, the 207.5 km from Mondorf-les-Bains to Vittel looked almost certain to end in a bunch sprint. Therefore, it was no surprise that most riders wanted to stay in the peloton when the flag dropped at the official start. In fact, only one rider, Guillaume van Keirsbulck (Wanty - Groupe Gobert), dared to attack and the peloton was more than happy to let him get a huge gap of over 13 minutes. As the stage progressed the gap started to come down quickly and with 100 km to go, only six minutes separated the pack from the lonely rider at the front. The distance continued to shorten towards the intermediate sprint and the following KOM sprint and with 15 km left, it was all back together again. The Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders were all committed to put Cavendish in the best-possible position for the expected bunch sprint. The team went to the front of the peloton on the final kilometers to make sure the Manxman was within striking distance. Unfortunately, Cavendish never got a chance to fight for the win as he collided with Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) on the last few hundred meters and crashed into the barriers. Sagan later got disqualified from the race, while Cavendish headed to the hospital for further examinations. An update on his condition will be released when more information is available. Arnaud Démare (FDJ) took the stage win. Edvald Boasson Hagen did well to finish in 11th place on the stage and moved up to fourth place in the general classification. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) still leads overall.
  10. What looked to be a strong comeback to racing for Cavendish, is now over before it really began. Medical examinations at the hospital in Nancy, France, has confirmed that the Manxman has fractured his right shoulder blade after colliding with Peter Sagan and crashing against the barriers in the final sprint in Vittel. Mark suffered a fracture to the right scapula. Fortunately, no surgery is required at this stage, and most importantly there is no nerve damage. He's been withdrawn from the race for obvious medical reasons, and we'll continue monitoring him over the coming days. Adrian Rotunno - Team Doctor I’m obviously massively disappointed to get this news about the fracture. The team was incredible today. They executed to perfection what we wanted to do this morning. I feel I was in a good position to win and to lose that and even having to leave the Tour, a race I’ve built my whole career around, is really sad. I wish the best of luck to my teammates for the rest of the race. Now, I’m looking forward to watching the race on TV, seeing the team fly the flag high for South Africa and raise awareness for Qhubeka. Mark Cavendish Watch the incident between Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan here.
  11. Mark Cavendish will not take the start at today’s Scheldeprijs or at the weekend's Paris-Roubaix due to an overuse injury. Click here to view the article
  12. Cavendish, who last competed at the Milano-Sanremo for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, has been hampered by pain felt in his right ankle. The discomfort was first felt on the penultimate stage of Tirreno-Adriatico in March and has hindered our sprint ace since. With the Tour de France being the focus of the Manxman's season this year, the goal is to ensure he is in peak condition come July. With this goal in mind and as a precautionary measure, our African Team will alter Cavendish's race program accordingly so that a full recovery can take place before returning to action. Mark sustained an overuse injury of his right ankle while competing at the Tirreno-Adriatico race. The injury was thought to be resolving but has unfortunately flared up again during training. Further investigation and treatment is necessary over the coming days to resolve the injury before Mark returns to racing. We are hopeful of a speedy recovery, though it would be premature to set a date for his return to racing at this stage. Dr Jarrad Van Zuydam - Team Doctor
  13. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were on song during stage 1 of the Abu Dhabi Tour as a perfect leadout from the African Team delivered Mark Cavendish to victory. The minor podium placings went to Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) and Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida) respectively. It was the first World Tour victory of the season for Cavendish and Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. Click here to view the article
  14. The opening stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour presented the crowd with the sprint finale they were expecting and it was the superior leadout that won the stage today. When the early breakaway of the stage was reeled in with 15km to go, the respective sprint teams began to organise their sprint trains. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka remained calm at the rear of the peloton, waiting for the right time to move up. After Daniel Teklehaimanot did a mountain of work to bring back the early breakaway, it was Igor Anton that led our African Team to the head of affairs with just 10km to go. It was a tough battle to stay organised at the front of the race as the wide road made it easy for teams to move up the sides of the peloton. Johann van Zyl and Bernhard Eisel were going shoulder to shoulder with the other trains as Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Mark Renshaw and Mark Cavendish stayed in the wheel. It was extremely difficult to keep in formation but Eisel marshalled the troops well. With 4km to go our Austrian powerhouse brought Janse van Rensburg, Renshaw and Cavendish back to the head of the race. A strong pull by Eisel then had our finishing trio head into the all-important final left-hand corner with 1km to go first. In the corner there was a crash but as we were leading, Cavendish was unaffected. Our South African champion then turned on the power down the finishing straight before giving way to Renshaw, who began the kick for the line. Bonifazio realised he was behind the 8-ball at this point and decided to go early from 2 places back, but all this did was provide Cavendish with the final slingshot to take the victory. The team was fantastic, really the lads did a phenomenal job today and I can’t fault anyone in the team. We knew that last corner was where it was going to count though and we had to get there first. We were hugging the barrier and I think it was a new guy from Orica, who tried to come up the inside. When I saw the barrier I thought, ah no, there is no way you'll get your whole team through there and next thing we heard the crash behind. I hope everyone is alright from that crash. Through the corner when Reinie went, the South African champion, you actually have to tell him to slow down because he is so strong. He just gave us so much speed and then Mark could go. I wanted to go a bit late obviously with the wind, but Bonifazio went early which played into my hands because I could just bounce off him and go through. I'm really happy with the win and the jersey obviously, this is a special race to me and its great motivation for the whole team. Mark Cavendish - Rider The team worked really well today. Everyone was involved from Merhawi our climber, through Daniel and Igor who is also saving himself for Saturday. They all chipped in to make sure the guys were dropped off for the sprint. We knew we needed to be in the first 5 guys after that corner and they executed it perfectly. From kilometre zero to the end they executed the plan perfectly and the end result is a win. Everyone is really happy and can be happy with their own performances. Roger Hammond – Sport Director
  15. Photo: LIONEL BONAVENTURE / AFP Statement from the teamTeam Dimension Data for Qhubeka has enjoyed extraordinary success in the Tour de France in 2016. Among the many highlights so far for the Team, the stand out wins on Stage 1, 3, 6 and 14 by Mark Cavendish and the Stage 7 win by Steve Cummings were exceptonal. Our African team was also proud to enjoy time in both the Yellow and Green Jerseys, worn by Cavendish, who extended his Tour de France stage win record to 30 wins taking him to 2nd on the all-time Tour Stage Wins record. After analysing his workload from the previous stages and his current levels of fatigue, the Team has supported Mark leaving the Tour to give him the best opportunity to recover and prepare for the Olympic Games in Rio. He will not take to the start of stage 17. Mark Cavendish – Rider After an extremely enjoyable and successful couple of weeks at The Tour de France with Team Dimension Data, it is with great sadness that I took the decision today to leave the race. After the heat and intensity of the previous stages, we analysed my fatigue levels and decided I’m at a point that would have a detrimental effect on my other big goal for the year, the Olympic Games. To leave a race and organisation that I hold so much respect for and a team that I have such a special bond with, has not been an easy decision at all. I want to say thank you to them, along with all the fans for their support and encouragement, today and over the past 16 stages. I wish Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and all the other competitors luck in the final few days into Paris, a special place that I will definitely miss the emotions of this year. Douglas Ryder – Team Principle Mark raced an incredible Tour de France, winning 4 stages and extending his palmarès to 30 stage wins at the Grand Boucle. He managed to put on his first ever Yellow jersey and to carry the Green jersey into the first rest day in Andorra was just exceptional. He has been a great team leader over the past two weeks and a great ambassador for everyone involved in this team and for the greater cause we ride for. Mark is really sad to leave the tour, we are committed to support him in his dream goal of receiving a medal for Britain at the Rio Olympic games. Adam Foster – Group Executive – Sports Practice, Dimension Data Mark has represented the Dimension Data brand and that of the other team partners with tremendous professionalism. The whole of Dimension Data wish Mark a speedy recovery, and every success to both him and his fellow team members for the remainder of the season.
  16. Mark Cavendish is to parts ways with the Tour de France to focus on his preparations for the Rio Olympic Games. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka issued a statement reflecting on what has been a most successful Tour de France. Click here to view the article
  17. With 4 big categorised climbs during today's 184km route, and the Col du Tourmalet being the first of the four, it was clear today would be a stage for the climbing purists and GC contenders. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were active in the first 60km of the stage, just before the Tourmalet, as our African Team tried to make it into the early break of the day. There would be no real early break of the day though, despite Serge Pauwels and Bernard Eisel's best efforts, everything was always brought back. The first real escape took place on the lower slopes of the Tourmalet as Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) and Tony Martin (Etixx-Quickstep) went clear. When Team Sky took control of the peloton it was clear, no other attacks would take place and it became a slow process of elimination with riders just trying to keep in contact with the GC favourites as long as possible. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had very little to gain from this situation and so the goal was for all riders to expend the least amount of energy as possible, but make it to the finish within the team cut. For a large part of the 2nd half of the stage, Mark Cavendish and Bernhard Eisel were fighting a lone battle right at the back of the race. The last climb of the day was the Col de Peyresourde, Cavendish our green jersey wearer and Eisel, were a little more than 30 minutes behind the front of the race at the start of the climb. The experienced duo, through real grit, determination and coupled with exceptional descending skill, were able to make it across a 4 minute gap in the final 20km to the 50 rider grupetto ahead of them. Coming home with the large group meant Cavendish and Eisel made the time cut and our Manxman retained the lead in the green jersey points competition. All the other Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders also made it safely to finish and will start tomorrow's tough 9th stage. It was a very difficult day, full gas from the start and it just never slowed down. I have not seen one smiling rider the whole day, maybe Chris Froome was because he won, but otherwise not one the whole day. Obviously the team did an incredible job in the first week and now in these mountain stages we pay the price a little bit. Natnael Berhane and Daniel Teklehaianot were so committed in riding the flats in the early stages that now they lack a little bit of power. Still, we are proud we brought everyone home and defended the green jersey. Tomorrow is another day but not necessarily any easier. Rolf Aldag - Head of Performance
  18. At 190km from Arpajon-sur-Cere to Montauban, the terrain took in a few undulations but nothing significant enough to stop a big bunch sprint from deciding the final stage outcome. Only 2 riders made the early break of the day and this all but assured that the sprinters would have their day, as Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, Etixx-Quickstep and Lotto-Soudal had no trouble at keeping the escapees at around 3 minutes for the majority of the day. The inevitable catch took place just inside of 15km to go, and this is where things would get really interesting. The road was rather narrow and it meant that the peloton was densely packed, with almost no room for teams to move up. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were in the front 3rd of the peloton but there just didn't seem to be a way through for our leadout team to get to the front. The narrow road continued right up until 3km to go and it was clear that a long leadout train was not going to work today. Cavendish just wanted to be taken to the wheel of Kittel, from where he would then freelance to the finish. Our African Team were able to get Cavendish locked on to the German's wheel after some clever work by Mark Renshaw, and from there our Manxman showed his class. Jumping with around 300m to go, Cavendish came from behind Kittel to forge ahead on the slightly downhill sprint and took another incredible win for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. While the entire team were working toward the common goal of delivering Cavendish to the finale, Daniel Teklehaimanot, played a huge part in today's victory as the Eritrean national champion spent close on 150km working at the front of the peloton. This victory comes at the perfect time for our African Team as we begin the big push to get people to sign up for our Qhubeka5000.org challenge. Tomorrow the race will head into the Pyrenees and Mark Cavendish will do so as the leader of the Green Jersey points competition once again. It was a hot day. Daniel Teklehaimanot did an incredible job to control the breakaway. He was riding super strong actually and he was up there for a long, long time. The guys are getting more and more confident as the race goes on. Steve Cummings was up there fighting with us until the end which was phenomenal, he is a strong guy to keep us there in the final. There were essentially two finish lines, one was at 12km to go and one was at the finish. We were a little bit too far back at the first one but Mark Renshaw did a great job at 4km to go to get me just there and out of a sticky situation. I thought the best wheel to follow in the final was Kittel. It was a fast finish and with the finish line not appearing until late I knew the guys would leave it late because your instincts are not to go before you see the line. I knew Kittel's wheel was the one to get the biggest slingshot from and with the speed of the finish, I knew if I got a good slingshot I could be going 3-4km/h faster than him before he had time to react so that's what I did and I was happy to hang on for the win. Mark Cavendish - Rider
  19. It was a long 223km haul from Granville to Angers, and when only Armindo Fonseca (Fortuneo Vital Concept) tried his luck in the early break, it resulted in a rather pedestrian like stage. Fonseca was allowed a maximum lead of just over 9 minutes as the peloton knew they could bring the lone Frenchman back at will. Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) decided to join the lone escapee with 80km to go but being a flat stage, the writing was on the wall, it was going to be a sprint finish. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were again looking to deliver Cavendish to prime position for the finale in Angers, after extensive research went into the final kilometers of the stage by our African Team. With 8km to go and the break caught, our African Team started putting its plan into action as Bernhard Eisel lined Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Mark Renshaw up in front of Mark Cavendish. The young South African, Janse van Rensburg, was instrumental in determining the final result as he put in a huge turn from 6.5km to go until 2.5km to go. Boasson Hagen was then in control as the pelotot went under the kilometer to go banner, before Renshaw piloted Cavendish to prime position from where to launch his sprint. The Manxman came off the wheel of the German champion in the final 150m, as both riders lunged for the line. The finish-line photo showed that Cavendish had won by a mere tyres width over Greipel and Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) took 3rd place. Another incredible win for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and Mark Cavendish, who is now, with 28 stage wins, tie 2nd with Bernard Hinault for the most number of stage wins at the Tour de France ever. After today's magnificent team effort, Cavendish moved into the lead in the Green Jersey points competition with 123 points and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) 2nd, on 116 points. I am incredibly happy with this second win at the Tour de France. We planned it for a long time this morning, we had a long team meeting about how the finish would go and it went pretty much exactly how we planned. It's good that the guys stayed calm and collected. It would have been easy for them to have pulled and then got out of the way with the hectic final, but they stayed patient. Edvald stayed patient, Mark stayed patient and then at the right minute I was able to get on Andre Greipel's wheel. I knew he'd hit it early, actually he was stronger than I thought he'd be. Andre has guts, he rides like that. I actually didn't beat him in the sprint, I beat him with the lunge. This is another great win for the team but more importantly, it raises the profile of Qhubeka yet again, and that is the reason we are here. Mark Cavendish - Rider
  20. For Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka it was a magical day, taking the start in Saint-Lo as the leaders of the Tour de France thanks to Cavendish's terrific victory on stage 1. With the yellow jersey in our African Team camp, the crowds flocked to the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka bus, just to catch a glimpse of our Manxman before the 183km stage got underway. Even though the rain fell quite consistently at the stage start, the yellow jersey shone brightly at the front of the peloton as our African Team took its place at the head of affairs from kilometer zero. 4 riders, Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Vegard Breen (Fortuneo), Paul Voss and Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Argon18) got the early jump on the pack and our African Team were happy to let them go 6'30" up the road. With Cavendish protected up at the head of the peloton, Steve Cummings, Daniel Teklehaimanot and Natnael Berhane set a constant tempo for the majority of the stage. Cumming's showed his strength by controlling proceedings for close on 100km all by himself. With a number of stage favourites in a variety of teams, some assistance was expected but it wasn't until 30km to go when eventually BMC Racing came to the fore. As the lead group made its way toward Cherbourg, Benedetti was dropped and the peloton began to slowly close the 3'35" gap to the 3 leaders. At the 10km to go marker, there was an unclassified climb that would put an end to Voss and Breen's hopes but Stuyven pushed on. The final 3km saw a constant rise to the finish and this is where the final showdown would take place. Stuyven began the final climb with a minute advantage but it would prove to not be enough. Tinkoff put in a big acceleration to close the gap and set up Sagan for victory. As expected, the climb saw Cavendish being distanced resulting in the yellow jersey being relinquished to Sagan. That took nothing away from a historical day, where for the first team ever, an African Team held the Tour de France yellow jersey. Initially, we had hopes of Edvald Boasson Hagen contesting for the stage win today too, but after the Norwegian's crash yesterday, he wasn't able to follow the front runners up to Cherbourg. Serge Pauwels would be our African Team's best placed rider on the stage in the end, finishing in 38th, 17 seconds off the pace. We won the yellow jersey yesterday and it was a great team effort. It was an impressive victory of Mark. Today the plan was to show respect to the yellow jersey, if you have it you have to ride and defend it. We wanted an early breakaway and then to stay in control of the race. Four guys got away and they got more time than what we were hoping for because they had a really strong ride. We committed Steve Cummings and he did a brilliant job and then we asked other riders to join in and keep it controlled. We knew in the final there would be big time gaps. Edvald was our guy and he really made it quite far, Cavendish was trying to hold on as long as he could. It worked out until 2km to go and then Mark paid for his efforts, he was on the limit. Edvald crashed yesterday at 65km/h so we had our doubts if he would be healthy enough. He has the shape, he proved it at nationals but that big hit he took yesterday just took away that 2% he needed to be present at the end. Rolf Aldag - Head of Performance
  21. After yesterday's 235km stage there was no respite for the riders in Croatia today as 240km of undulating roads had to be covered before reaching the finish in Split. 6 riders would form the break of the day and after Nizzolo won yesterday's opening stage, it was up to his Trek-Segafredo team to control proceedings. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka also had a keen interest in today's stage and so Jay Thomson was also sent up front to add some reinforcement to the chase. While there was a fair bit more climbing today, it was not enough to stretch the peloton during the race. A crash mid peloton in the final 10km of the stage had the biggest impact on the race, reducing the main group to around 60 riders, but our African Team were safely at the head of affairs and so were unaffected. The break, after a good 200km out front, were reeled in by the main group and once again it was a technical run in to the finish. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg did a stellar job, doing multiple turns on the front of the peloton while Renshaw guided Cavendish to prime position for the final kilometer. A roundabout and two 90-degree bends made the finale quite tricky and positioning was vital for a top result. Our Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka team ticked all those boxes as Cavendish was able to come off Renshaw's wheel with 150m to go and take a good win. The leadout worked so well that Renshaw was able to roll home in third place on the stage. After finishing 2nd yesterday and taking the win today, Cavendish also took over the lead in the general classification as well. I'm really happy to take the win today. Yesterday the team rode on the front from beginning and I just messed up a bit in the final, I just didn't have it yesterday really. So I was really glad the team kept the faith in me for today. Once again Jay spent all day in front, working super hard. The guys were then also really prominent in final. The finishes here in Croatia are really technical and quite dangerous so it make it quite nervous. We had a good plan with Mark Renshaw to lead it out into the corners. Yesterday I over geared a bit but today I went in with a smaller gear and after coming through the corners it was more about the acceleration than the power. So I was super happy to take the win for the team because the guys were really fantastic. We have the leader’s jersey now which means it will be another long day on the front for Jay tomorrow but he has been so strong and is riding really well. The stage definitely isn't for me tomorrow but Reinie can be up there so as a team we will remain prominent in the race. Mark Cavendish - Rider It was a good day and another long stage at 240km. It was a windy day too, we certainly had more wind than expected. The break took a bit longer to form today, there were many attacks and sometimes there were even quite big groups that went ahead. Later on 6 riders were in the break and Trek never gave them more than 5 minutes. Halfway through the stage we started sharing the work with Trek. Coming to the final everything worked out, the team did a really good job. Renshaw took Cavendish through the final kilometer really well. We are really happy with the win of today. Alex Sans Vega - Sport Director
  22. The days 235km stage was characterised by a 4 rider break that got away just as the flag dropped. The peloton was happy to allow the quartet to ride 11 minutes ahead, as there was a fair way to go until the finish was reached in Varazdin. Although it was a very long stage, there were no real climbs to deal with and a bunch sprint was always on the cards. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka placed Jay Thomson at the head of the race for the majority of day, controlling the break with riders from Trek-Segafredo, Astana, IAM Cycling and Tinkoff. Guillaume Boivin (Cycling Academy) showed he was the strongest from the breakaway as he jumped clear of the 3 other riders with 30km to go. The gap back to the peloton at that stage was still 3'30" but the peloton had yet to really turn up the heat with regard to the chase. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and Trek-Segafredo would be the two teams who took responsibility to ensure Boivin was caught. After a good effort by the Canadian champion, he was reeled in with 3km to go. The final then saw a number of riders taking a few risks to get to the front of the peloton and our African Team had to fend off a number of pushes and shoves to keep Cavendish positioned up front for the sprint. Coming into the final kilometer, Mark Renshaw dropped Cavendish off on the wheel of Nizzolo as the race charged toward the finishing banner. Two 90-degree bends and a narrow cobbled street made it a technical finish and our Manxman was never really able to get out of the saddle to come around Nizzolo before the line. It would be 2nd place for our African Team at the end of the stage with Nizzolo taking the stage win and also the first leaders jersey of the race. It was a long flat stage with a headwind for most of the day. 4 riders got into the break of the day from kilometre 0 and so all the World Tour teams put 1 rider forward each to control gap. Later, only 1 rider remained but he was caught too. It was difficult to see what exactly happened in the final but it was quite a technical finish so we will debrief now after the stage. Today was a good opportunity for us, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. We will have more chances this week and we want to make the most of our opportunities here in Croatia. Alex Sans Vega - Sport Director
  23. After 3 riders got away early on, our Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders would control proceedings for the better part of the stage. Once the gap hit 3'00", Katusha would provide 2 riders to lend a hand in the chase. At only 114km in distance, and the important bonus seconds up for grabs at the finish, it was always going to be a bunch sprint to decide the stage and the overall. With 10km to go, the race was all together ahead of the expected bunch sprint. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka did a great job once again to leadout Cavendish, putting him in a prime position with 1km to go. Edvald Boasson Hagen had already put yesterday's disappointment behind him, and did a crucial turn for Cavendish inside of 1km to go. It was the Manxman and Kristoff going neck and neck for the final 200m and even on the finish line photo, it was difficult to determine the winner. In the end, the stage victory went the way of the Norwegian rider. With Cavendish placed 2nd though, his overall lead was secure and he would win the Tour of Qatar by 5 seconds from Kristoff. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) placing 3rd overall. Boasson Hagen also finished in the pack on the stage to ensure he kept his 5th place on general classification too. The result being our African Team's first General Classification race win of the year. We were really motivated for today and I have won this stage before a couple of times. The wind was always going to make it difficult today, it was a block head wind and we thought it was going to be cross. Actually it was more a cross head wind so you were never really comfortable. We knew we were going to have to take control and the team were really motivated after yesterday. Obviously we were in control at the beginning of yesterday but then with the puncture of Edvald it really put the team in a difficult situation. It also made it harder for us to take the overall today so we really had to be on top of our game to make sure we finished on the top step of the podium. The lads did it perfectly on the final laps when it was hectic, keeping me in the front and out of danger, so I was ready for the sprint.Obviously it's nice to be wearing gold now, but I know I am only wearing it on behalf of Edvald. He only lost it because of bad luck and not through any other kind of cause. He should be the guy wearing this gold jersey but we are just super happy to keep it in Team Dimension Data. The team made the step up to World Tour this year and we've already won a GC. It is great for the new sponsors, Dimension Data, Deliotte and also to highlight Qhubeka here on the international stage. Mark Cavendish - Rider On a difficult last day of the tour, the entire team stepped up to the challenge and defended the jersey. I am so pleased for all the guys and the entire team, they really deserved the win. Roger Hammond - Sport Director
  24. It took another photo finish to decide the final stage of the Tour of Qatar, once again the victory went the way of Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) with our Mark Cavendish in 2nd place. Roy Jans (Wanty Groupe Gobert) was the rider in 3rd. Click here to view the article
  25. It would be a dramatic finish to the 4th stage of the Tour of Qatar as our race leader Edvald Boasson Hagen punctured with just 8km to go while in a select front split of just 25 odd riders. The split happened with around 14km to go when LottoNL-Jumbo surged to the front of the race after our African Team had done a great job controlling proceedings for the first 170km of the stage with Mekseb Debesay and Matt Brammeier. Initially it was a good situation for our Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka boys as Boasson Hagen and Mark Cavendish easily made the front echelon when the peloton broke into pieces. Unfortunately, our Norwegian champion couldn't have had a worse timed puncture as he lost the air in his front wheel with just 8km left to race. BMC then came to the front, trying to capitalise on Boasson Hagen's misfortune by driving the front group as hard as they could along with the LottoNL-Jumbo team. This played right into the hands of Katusha though as they could concentrate on organising the leadout for Kristoff. They did this with such effectiveness from 2km out, that it was only 4 riders that crossed the line together on the same time as Kristoff at the end of the stage. Vastly outnumbered in the front group while the rest of our team tried to get Boasson Hagen back, Cavendish could only sit on the wheels of BMC and Katusha, crossing the line in 5th place. By the time Boasson Hagen crossed the line riding Youcef Reguigui's bike, 45 seconds had already passed. This meant the Norwegian drops to 5th on the general classification. The good news of the day for our African Team though is that Boasson Hagen gave up his top spot on the general classification to teammate, Cavendish. With just 2 seconds separating Cavendish and Van Avermaet in the overall, there is all to play for during tomorrow's final 114km stage to Doha. It was horrible to lose 1st and 2nd on GC in such a disappointing way. Edvald punctured in the last 10km and unfortunately Lotto Jumbo went full gas, BMC as well but obviously they had a reason to but Lotto Jumbo don't have anyone on GC so it was a bit sad. All the guys waited for Edvald to try and bring him back. It was a full cross-tail finish so it means you need a full team with you otherwise you just going to be hammered in the gutter. So we put all our eggs in Edvald's basket and I knew I just needed to bury myself deep and we'd still hang onto the jersey anyway. The team rode incredibly strongly today. Matt and Mekseb controlled the race alone, with no help from any other teams and that was awesome to see for 190km. Honestly we got to pay back the good work the guys have done all week and hold on to the jersey tomorrow. Mark Cavendish - Rider It's a bit sad that after the team rode incredibly strongly all day, not getting any help from any other teams, that the only difference separating us from having complete control today was the double puncture. If you not winning because you not good enough that is one thing but just through a puncture, well that's just disappointing. Roger Hammond - Sport Director
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