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  1. For Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka the stage began with Omar Fraile unable to take the start. Fraile had been ill in the weeks leading up to the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and after the first two stages it was evident that Fraile needed a few more days of recovery despite finishing both stages. Nevertheless, things were soon looking upward for our African Team again as Johann van Zyl jumped into the 7 rider break of the day. Our South African breakaway specialist and his 6 companions quickly built up a large 12-minute lead over the peloton, before Team Sky started chasing with some real urgency. With 4 category 1 climbs on the menu today, it was going to be a tough day with the big names of World Tour stage racing expected to feature in the finale. With 35km and two ascents of the Alt de La Molina to go, the break was neutralised by Team Sky. On the penultimate climb, Pieter Weening (Roompot) tried his luck with a solo escape but he only made it as far as the lower slopes of the final climb. Louis Vervaeke (Lotto-Soudal) then also went into the lead momentarily. The showdown between the big names would eventually materialise though as the attacking began with 2km to go. At this point, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had Merhawi Kudus among the action with our young Eritrean trying to follow the attacks of Wout Poels (Team Sky) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar). In the end it was Martin who came over the top of Quintana's attack to take a good victory. Kudus rode strongly to round out the top 20, a good result for the young man against nearly all of the best climbers in the world. Some less positive news from out on the course was that Adrien Niyonshuti had to abandon the race mid-stage today. Niyonshuti picked up a cold last night and today he was coughing quite a bit while also battling to breath. It was a difficult decision for our Rwandan star but he eventually stopped and will now focus on his recovery. It was a good stage and quite difficult with a lot of climbing and it was also quite cold. I was feeling comfortable for most of the day and it was good that we had Johann in the break. On the last climb we had some headwind so it was not possible to attack the pace that was being set. I just tried to follow the wheels and finish with the best result possible. There are some good guys here so I am happy for today but will try for more tomorrow. Merhawi Kudus - Rider It was the first mountain stage today and so many riders had a lot of expectations, with each team trying to work out how the final would go with so many big names here. In the last part of the race it was very windy and that made the race more conservative from the big guys. From our side, we wanted to be represented in the break and we were with Johann. For the final we had Igor Anton, Merhawi Kudus and Kanstantsin Siustsou to see how long they could follow the big names and to see if there would be any options for us on the final climb. With the wind there were very few attacks and only Merhawi was able to follow the favourites. He did very well and we are happy with his result. Tomorrow suits him pretty well so once again we will try to be part of the action. Alex Sans Vega - Sport Director
  2. Stage 5 of the Vuelta a Espana was an incredibly difficult 175km from Benicassim to Alcossebre. The riders had to contend with 5 categorised climbs on another scorcher of day, where the centigrade averaged in the mid to high 30's. From the start, there was a number of attacks and Merhawi Kudus found the right move for Team Dimension Data and made the all-important break of the day. Kudus was joined by 16 other riders to form a strong group, one which Team Sky kept close tabs on initially as the gap was held between 2 and 3 minutes for most the day. Kudus and his breakaway mates pushed on and eventually the gap grew. The decisive moment in the stage came just as the penultimate climb of the day was completed with 50km to go. Marco Haller (Katusha) attacked the break as the descent started and Lutesenko and Matej Mohric (UAE Emirates) bridged across on the downhill. Kudus' chasing group was not working well together and the gap started to grow to the leaders. Eventually they began attacking one another, trying to get rid of the passengers. 4 riders went clear on the long valley road that led to the final climb of the day, Kudus included. Mohric dropped from the leading group and was soon caught by the Kudus chase group. With 11km to go, Kudus and Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale) rode away from their chasing counterparts, in hot pursuit of Haller and Lutsenko. At this stage the peloton was well out of contention at over 6 minutes back. Our slight Eritrean climber and Gougeard started the final 3km climb 40 seconds behind the leading duo and almost immediately, Lutesenko dropped Haller and Kudus dropped Gougeard as the road pointed upwards. Kudus flew into 2nd place on the road but Lutsenko was riding well to keep his advantage. In the end, the climb was not long enough for Kudus to claw back Lutsenko, but a courageous ride nonetheless from our 23-year-old Eritrean saw him finish 2nd on the stage. It was quite hard to be in the breakaway today, spending over 4 hours in the wind and then having to finish on a very steep climb like that. There was a headwind most of the day but luckily, we were a lot of guys in the break so we could keep the gap over the peloton. On the 2nd last climb the attacking started, it wasn't very steep so it didn't suit me but I just followed as best I could. Having to chase those 2 guys on a flat road before the last steep climb was really difficult. I am very happy with 2nd position though, I am motivated to take another opportunity now. Merhawi Kudus - Rider
  3. The Tour of Oman concluded today, with Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) winning the expected bunch sprint in Muttrah Corniche. Eduard Grosu (Nippo - Vini Fantini) and Sacha Modolo (UAE Abu Dhabi) completed the stage podium. Ben Hermans (BMC Racing) was the overall winner of the Tour of Oman. Click here to view the article
  4. The final stage, as expected, came down to a mass sprint finish. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were concentrated on making no mistakes to keep the overall lead in the white jersey competition with Merhawi Kudus, and then also having a go for the stage victory with Kristian Sbaragli. In the final sprint, Sbaragli was able to net 9th place on the line for our African Team while Kudus finished safely in the bunch. The results of the final stage meant Kudus was able to win the white jersey for the best young rider overall, thanks to his consistent performances throughout the week. Kudus was also 4th overall while teammates Lachlan Morton and Nathan Haas placed 8th and 10th overall respectively, Lachlan the 2nd placed young rider of the race. While the stage win eluded our African Team this year in Oman, it was still a successful week of racing and Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were the deserved winners of the overall best team classification. I am really happy to win this jersey. I came to the race with high objectives for the overall classification and to finish 4th overall and win the young rider competition, I can be pleased with this performance. I must say thank you to the whole team for the support. We have some strong riders, even Lachlan and Nathan finished in the top 10, so it was very nice to also stand on the podium with all these guys who supported me. The season has started in a good way and now I go to Abu Dhabi Tour with good confidence, the field will be very strong there but again we have a strong team and I will hope to do my best once again. Merhawi Kudus - Rider
  5. After coming back to the team last year, Janse van Rensburg has confirmed his talent by winning the overall of the Tour de Langkawi, Asia’s most iconic stage race, in March 2016. The 27-year-old was also a key member of our Tour de France squads in 2015 and 2016, where he has been a vital support rider for our African team. Besides that he has shown his strength at the classics. Fellow South African Nic Dougall also underlined his talent in the first part of the season is. At just 23 years of age he has shown his potential at the cobbled races where he was playing an important role. "I’m really happy to be riding for an African team. It means a lot to me as we do not only help to raise the bar for African cycling but also help to put people on bikes through Qhubeka. I’m very much looking forward to further develop as a classics rider as these are the races that I really enjoy“, says Dougall, who’s currently racing his first Grand Tour at La Vuelta. Another rider who is racing in Spain at the moment is 22-year old Merhawi Kudus. The young Eritrean has already shown glimpses of his talent during the first week of La Vuelta. It is the fourth Grand Tour of his young career, that has seen finishing all three of them in the last three years. „I would like to win a stage at a Grand Tour in the future. I feel that these are the races that suit me well and it’s great to be able to develop myself as rider in an African team. This team is rewriting the history for African cycling and it’s great to a part of it“, so Kudus. Natnael Berhane is another Eritrean who can take things to a whole new level for African cycling in the next seasons. The former Eritrean champion was the first African to win a stage race in Europe in 2013, the Presidential Tour of Turkey, and has since steadily progressed in his development. He was a key support rider during this years mountain stages of the Tour de France, after riding actively in a couple of stage races prior to the Grand Boucle, where he was the designated team leader. We built this team to showcase and support the best talent on the African Continent and I am really happy to see the commitment, dedication and loyalty these riders have shown in their future development with Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and also in the team’s purpose of mobilising people on bikes. The coming seasons will be breakthrough years for these riders so hold onto your seats big things are coming. Douglas Ryder – Team Principle Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka grew really fast over the last years to become one of the leading teams in the Peloton. The message this team sends out to the world is unique and so are the people on this team. We are happy to extend the agreements with Merhawi, Natnael, Reinardt and Nic to help them building on their carriers and have them on board to secure our future success. Rolf Aldag – Head of Performance
  6. After numerous attacks in the first 30km of the 4th Tour de Romandie stage, 11 riders finally managed to go clear of the peloton. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were represented by Cameron Meyer in the big break and they rode to a 2'00" lead just before reaching the first of 3 category 1 climbs on the day. It was on this climb, the Col des Planches where 3 of the original breakaway riders attacked while Meyer and the others returned to the peloton. This is how the situation would remain for some time as Movistar controlled the peloton. Our African Team were riding to place Merhawi Kudus (pictured above) in a good position and then it was up to our young Eritrean to test his legs on the two final climbs. As the riders reached the penultimate cat 1 climb of the stage, attacks came from the peloton which eventually caused the break to be caught and the main bunch to be drastically reduced. Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Tejay van Gaardren (BMC Racing) were the 2 riders who got the jump on the main group. They bridged the gap to the 2 remaining early leaders but soon pressed on ahead without them. Kudus followed the tempo being set by the Movistar team in the group of favourites and going over the top of the Barboleusaz, the peloton was down to just 30 riders, Kudus and Kanstantsin Siutsou included from our African Team. The rain started to come down on the descent toward the final climb and it was at this point in time where the battle for the yellow jersey intensified. Kudus did well, following the moves right up until 4km to go where he then got distanced. Up the road, Froome was clearly on a good day as he left Van Garderen behind and rode away to a good stage win. The yellow jersey group followed just 5 seconds after Froome while Kudus was the next rider in, taking 17th on the stage. It was a very hard stage today. Our main objective was for Merhawi to go for a good result and also to have a good test before the Giro. We knew the weather was going to turn so we had staff members all over the last mountain with warm tea and jackets. The race started really fast with a lot of attacks, Cameron was part of a big move but that came back. The other guys were just looking after Merhawi and Kanstantsin. On the 1st cat 1 climb Kristian Sbaragli punctured so we lost him unfortunately but all the guys were really good. On the penultimate climb, right near the top, it started to pour with rain. Merhawi and Kanstansin were in the favourites group and Natnael was only about 20 seconds off. In the wet and with Movistar pacing he wasn't going to be able to make it back before reaching the valley. Kanstantsin was there with Merhawi though and he did an amazing job when it was all strung out. Merhawi rode well and it was only right at the end where he got tailed off from the big hitters. He can really be happy with his position and his form, considering the weather it was a really good day. One of the good things is we rode as a team, we wanted to look after Merhawi so we achieved our objectives. Oli Cookson - Sport Director
  7. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were part of the early action on today's 174km stage from Moudan to Morgins. Our South African champion, Jaco Venter, broke away inside the first 20km of the stage with 5 other riders. Venter and his companions combined well to forge out a gap of 5 minutes over the Movistar led peloton. The main features of the stage only came in the final 22km though. Riders would first take on the cat 2 climb to Les Champs before a short descent and then the final 9km cat 1 climb to Morgins. Venter had ridden well in the break but the big GC teams of Sky, Movistar and FDJ all ensured the final showdown would be between their leaders on these final 2 climbs. As we approached the cat 2 climb, our African Team were looking to deliver Merhawi Kudus to a good position. Venter and the other breakaway riders were reeled in on the lower slopes while Kudus and Natnael Berhane were looking good on the positive gradient. It was only a small group of around 40 riders that went over the top of the penultimate climb together. The final climb was attacked with some venom by the lead group and the telling move came when Quintana and Zakarin got away with 5km to go. The chase blew the race to bits and each rider was then on their own. Kudus hung on for as long as he could, but got distanced near the top. Our Eritrean still rode hard to the line and came home 21st, 1'33" after Quintana and Zakarin. Berhane also had a solid ride on this tough mountain stage, finishing 38th. It was a really hard stage. We got Jaco into the break which was obviously part of our plan today. He obviously did a superb ride and it was great to get the South African jersey in the break. It was a good test for his legs and a nice workout before the Giro. He showed he has the condition so it was nice to have the team and South African colours on T.V. for most of the day. Obviously when that came back together the main aim was to put Kanstantsin Siutsou, Merhawi and Natnael in a good position but it was very difficult to do that. From the result Merhawi showed how good he is and how good his legs are. The others had to fight maybe a bit too much to get into position, the roads were really narrow particularly that descent from the cat 2 to the final climb. It was interesting to see some big name riders getting dropped. It is a hard race and it's still cold up here so to see Merhawi up there and leading that group across the line, it looks good for the Giro. For tomorrow's TT we will see how we go with Siutsou and Cameron Meyer but in all, we are happy with today after Merhawi and Jaco's good rides. Oli Cookson - Sport Director
  8. 11 riders managed to get into today's break. With Siutsou representing our African squad in the lead group, the team could save some energy for the final kilometers, as these were to be tough ones to come. Going into the stage the GC contenders were only separated by a few seconds, so it was only a question of time until they would start to attack each other. The first one to attack was Fabio Aru (Astana). The Italian tried to light up the race, bringing the gap to the breakaway down to only 2 minutes with 30 kilometers to go. By then Slovenian Matej Mohoric jumped the break but was later reeled in. The race really picked up speed with 17 kilometers to go when Chris Froome bridged across to Aru. The 2-time Tour de France champion's attack was covered by overnight leader Quintana. The Colombian later also kept on top of things and followed Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) and Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) when they tried their luck. At the front Siustou was part of a group of a few riders that managed to get back onto the wheel of Mohoric. However, when eventual stage winner Tsatevic rode clear from the break with Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) in tow, our Belorussian couldn't follow. He instead waited for Kudus, who himself had put in a good attack. The young Eritrean had good company in Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Daniel Navarro (Cofidis). With two riders in the chase of the lead duo things were looking good for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. Yet, again, it wasn't to be our day as the GC contenders reeled everyone in except for Tsatevic and Roglic who crossed the line 14 seconds ahead of the peloton. Kudus was the team's best placed finisher coming home in 11th place. We wanted to get into the break again today, as this was our only option to go for a stage win. With all the big GC contenders racing the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya this year it was a hard stage to predict. Kanstantsin managed to get into the break with 10 other riders, among them also was the later stage winner, Alexey Tsatevic. In the finale their gap came down rapidly, especially after Fabio Aru attacked. With Chris Froome and Alberto Contador also trying to attack Nairo Quintana it was a hard task to stay out front. In the finale we wanted to ride for Merhawi, who did a good race. Kanstantsin helped him, after he was dropped from the lead group inside the last 10 kilometers, but the GC contenders wouldn't allow them to stay away. Overall it was a good week of racing. We knew that it was hard to achieve a top result in the GC given the strong competition. So we wanted to go for a stage win. We came really close the last three days, and I think we deserved a win. It didn't happen though, but I guess that's racing. Alex Sans Vega - Sports Director
  9. With the stage ending up the 8km Green Mountain climb that had an average gradient of 10%, everybody knew this is where all the real action would take place. There was an early escape of 10 riders though, but Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka along with Astana kept them in check right up to the foot of Green Mountain. After 170km of racing, the peloton started the climb just 2 minutes behind the escapees. Our African Team certainly did not have the favourite for today's stage but in Merhawi Kudus, Serge Pauwels, Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Edvald Boasson Hagen we definitely had a few cards to play. As Nibali and Bardet were first to attack Green Mountain, the break faltered and were all caught on the early slopes of the climb. With no place to hide on this unrelenting climb, those who were feeling good on the day came to the fore. For Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka it was Kudus, Pauwels and impressively, Boasson Hagen who were hanging tough after some solid team work placed them at the head of the race. Multiple Grand Tour winner, Nibali, showed his class though and took a hard earned victory at the summit. Kudus, our young Eritrean star was our first finisher in 6th place. While Boasson Hagen had to give up his red and green leaders jersey's to Nibali, a fine ride saw him place 10th on the stage and now the Norwegian sits 6th on the general classification. Kudus also moved up to 9th on the general classification after his performance today. This was a very hard climb. My legs felt good before the stage so I was motivated for the last climb. The team did a great job to help me today before the climb and then I just tried to do the best ride possible. Nibali was very strong but I am happy with my result today. Merhawi Kudus - Rider After the break went we were controlling the whole day with Astana and AG2R, Tyler Farrar was doing a lot of good work on the front. The boys were working very well together and with 3km to go we still had Merhawi, Serge and Edvald in the leading group. Jacques was not too far behind but he had 2 mechanicals on the climb. At the finish Merhawi did a great a job and also Edvald, on a very, very steep climb it was a great ride by him. Jean Pierre Heynderickx - Sport Director
  10. The 4th stage of the Tour of Oman would be pivotal in the battle for the overall race lead and it was a challenge Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) proved to be up for, as he was first to cross the finish line atop Green Mountain. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) was 2nd and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) rounded out the podium. Click here to view the article
  11. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung was put on display for the majority of the day by Merhawi Kudus, as he and Jef van Meirhaeghe (Topsport Vlaanderen) formed the 2 rider break of the day. Riding at a maximum of 4 minutes ahead of the peloton, Merhawi was able to get the better of the Belgian at all the intermediate sprints and GPM's to win both those classifications today. The two man escape was not going to survive the chase from the peloton though and they were caught with 60km to go. The final local circuit contained a climb that would be raced at full gas on each occasion, as expected, and the peloton became drastically thinned out. Our man for day, Kristian Sbaragli, was strong enough to be a part of the final selection but a long season had taken its toll on the Italian and he was not able to feature in the sprint finish today. Natnael Berhane was our highest placed finisher in 17th with Kristian in 19th. Nevertheless it was still a good end to the season for our boys in Italy with Merhawi making two trips to the podium. For our last race we wanted to be part of the race. We had Merhawi in the break along with a Topsport rider. They were in the move from kilometre 20 and got caught with 60km to go. Merhawi was able to win both the sprint and GPM competitions out there today which was good. Coming into the final there was a bunch sprint of approximately 40 riders. The plan was to help Kristian in the final but he didn't have the legs today and got stuck on the last corner. Alex Sans Vega - Sport Director
  12. Today the riders would get the racing underway in the pouring rain and it would not ease up all that much throughout the day. After a fast start, it was difficult for the break of the day to form. It took just over 60km of racing before two riders managed to jump clear of the pack. Jean Marc Bideau (Bretagne-Seche) and Marco Frapporti (Androni) were the two riders who managed to ride 4 minutes ahead of the peloton. With the unrelenting rain and a tough climbers course to contend with, the leading duo would take a battering out there. After a consistent pace was set by a couple of teams in the peleton, the race came all back together with 46km to go. It would now be the 5 ascents up to San Luca that would decide the stage. 3 riders would go clear on the circuit but it was Bakelants who rode across and then passed the 3, with 20km to go that would be the strongest. Behind the peloton broke into pieces as the favourites pushed the pace. Merhawi Kudus was right in the thick of things, always sitting in the front of the main pack. Bakelants would not be caught though and Merhawi would eventually come home with 10th place on the day, a solid result this late in the year for the young Eritrean. Today was a difficult race because of the weather and the really fast start. We did 50km in the first hour today. When the break went away it was easier but on the climb it was getting harder again. In the circuit we were full gas and I just tried to stay in a good place. The team were really good today again and helped me a lot. My legs were okay and I could stay with the front guys but it was not possible to catch the break and go for a win. I am happy to finish my season with this result of 10th place. Merhawi Kudus - Rider It was a tough day out there today. It was raining and cold right from the start. There many attacks in the beginning but only around 60km did 2 riders make the break. The hardest part of the day was the final 40km, on a very difficult local circuit. Our climbers tried their best with Merhawi ending with a top 10 position. This is a nice achievement in such a difficult race. Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director
  13. The Giro dell Emillia, our penultimate Italian race of the season saw Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale) take the win ahead of his late breakaway mates, Andrea Fedi (Southeast) and Angel Madrazo (Caja-Rural). Our Merhawi Kudus would finish in 10th place. Click here to view the article
  14. On a cool and gloomy day that saw the riders having to race 198km in wet conditions, 8 riders would form the break of the day after around an hour of racing. They soon became 7 though as a mechanical would eliminate 1 fugitive from the front group. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had all our riders positioned in the peloton as we headed out onto the undulating course. The Italian riders take great pride in their local events and so it was no wonder that the Italian hopefuls who had missed the move sent their teams to the front to control the break. With a definitive final 70km left to race, the break had already been neutralised thanks to Astana and a few other local teams. After numerous attacks a new break formed with just under 60km to race and it was the well-known trio of Rebellin, Nibali and Michele Scarponi (Astana) that got off the front together. The 3 major players were able to open up a minute lead before Bardiani and Southeast started making inroads into their advantage. Eventually Scarponi couldn't sustain the pace as Rebellin and Nibali rode away with the race. A reduced peloton had to settle for sprinting it out for 3rd place. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had both Merhawi Kudus and Serge Pauwels in this main group but they would not contest the sprint for the minor placing’s. It was a rainy day and therefore with the steep uphills, small roads and steep descents we knew the race would become dangerous. There were a lot of attacks in the first 40km before the 8 riders were allowed a gap. They got a maximum of 4'30" lead with Astana working in the bunch. With around 60km to go, Nibali attacks with Rebellin and Scarponi. The peloton was only 35 riders with Bardiani and Southeast chasing but it was not enough to close the gap as the leaders survived by 2 seconds. We had Merhawi and Serge in the front group which was good on such a difficult day. Jayde crashed on one of the descents but fortunately he is okay. Alex Sans Vega - Sport Director
  15. Under the grey skies of the Coppa Agostoni today, the veteran Davide Rebellin (CCC Sprandi) would ride to victory ahead of breakaway partner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). Niccolo Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida) led the bunch sprint home for 3rd place. Click here to view the article
  16. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung rode strong all day. From the beginning on the stripes were to be seen at the front of the peloton. The team’s fighting spirit would see Steve Cummings and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg playing an important role in one of the the days breaks. Both were right on the top action when the race reached the Cote de Robin Hood’s Bay 28 km before the finish line in Scarborough. The climb proofed to be the deciding one for the stage. With a gradient of 25 percent it allowed 5 riders to go clear. Lars Petter Northaug (Sky) would then move on to win the stage from Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis) to also take over the race lead. Steve and Merhawi just missed out on the move but refused to give up. Together they kept the chase within distance to the late break, an effort that would see both finishing in the top15. It was a bit stressful to get to the start line today. After only receiving my Visa for Britain yesterday, I arrived this morning. I had breakfast at a coffee shop on the airport and pinned on my race number just minutes before the start. It was really hectic, so I am actually quite happy with how my race went. Merhawi Kudus – Rider The team did really well today, even though the result might not really show that. We rode very active in the final 50 kilometers and were in the middle of the action with Steve, Reinardt and Merhawi until the late break got away. It was good to see that the boys didn’t give up and tried to chase that group down. Jens Zemke – Sports Director
  17. Merhawi Kudus was MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung’s main man at todays opening stage of the Tour of Yorkshire. The 21 year old Eritrean only received his Visa in time to make the trip to Great Britain. He arrived just minutes before the flag dropped in Bridlington, but would move on to finish 13th, being the team’s best place rider on the day. Click here to view the article
  18. The final stage of the Ruta del Sol saw Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar) win the tough uphill sprint ahead of John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling). Chris Froome (Team Sky) was able to preserve his 1 second lead over Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) to win the race overall. Click here to view the article
  19. It was another productive day for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung as they animated the racing by placing 2 riders in the 7 man break of the day. Songezo Jim and Merhawi Kudus both escaped from the peloton inside the first 15km of the stage. The fugitives were able to push out an advantage of just under 3 minutes to the peloton. Lotto-Soudal and Tinkoff-Saxo kept the gap in check though as they had clear objectives for the finish. With 40km to race and a lead of just 30", Merhawi attacked the break on a slight rise, pulling clear with Maciej Paterski (CCC Polsat) and Johnny Hoogerland (Team Roompot). The trio drove as hard as they could but Movistar were furiously leading the charge from the peloton as well. Eventually Merhawi and his fellow escapees were reeled in with 15km to go. Attention then turned to Tyler Farrar for MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung as they looked to set the American up for the sprint. The final drag at over 15% gradient was just too tough for Tyler though as he was distanced in the final 200 meters. Today was an extremely fast day. We raced most of the day with a tail wind. We wanted to be in the break today and both Songezo and Merhawi made it into the front group with 5 other guys. They rode well together and our boys tried to save some energy for the final 50km where the wind was blowing even stronger. After a climb where Merhawi put in a small acceleration the downhill was super-fast and here the small split happened with the 3 riders. After they were caught at 15km to go, we focused on Tyler for the sprint but it wasn't his best day and he couldn't go for the sprint. Overall I am happy with the team performance. The team has good balance and commitment at the moment and we look forward to the next races. Alex Sans Vega - Sports Director
  20. The 3rd stage of the Ruta del Sol saw the heavyweights of Grand Tour riding, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Chris Froome (Team Sky) battling for the stage win with the Spaniard coming out tops today. With Froome in 2nd, Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) came home 3rd. Click here to view the article
  21. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung were well represented at the front of the race today as Merhawi Kudus was able to match the favourites up to the 3km to go sign. Merhawi was brought to the foot of the final climb by his Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung team mates. Contador was able to rely on Ivan Basso to pretty much ride everybody of their wheels before the multiple grand tour winner put in his one and only attack on the races final finishing climb. Contador was able to open up a 30” lead on his chasers which included Merhawi, Bardet, Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky), Benat Intxuasti (Movistar) and Froome. Froome soon dropped the chasers in pursuit of his long-time rival as Kudus continued to battle his way up to the summit of the climb. After going down on stage 1 and losing time on the GC, the young Eritrean showed good maturity today to take the race head on. In the end, Merhawi would secure 7th place on the stage. Today I can be happy with my performance but also my team were very very good. The final climb was tough and I tried to follow the main guys. 7th is okay and tomorrow I will have another chance so despite losing time behind the stage 1 crashes, I will stay positive to try get another good result. Merhawi Kudus - Rider We were looking forward to this stage since the start of the race. Everything was focused around Merhawi and supporting him up to the final climb. The race started fast with 10 riders getting away, they only got a 2'20" gap as Tinkoff-Saxo controlled. Coming to the final climb the most important thing was to bring Merhawi to a good position before it started, the team did a great job at this. On the climb, Merhawi tried to stay with the biggest names and was in the 5 rider chase group until 3km to go. We are very happy with his 7th place and to see the excellent progress he is making as a bike rider, staying close to two of the best grand tour riders in cycling at the moment. Alex Sans Vega - Sports Director
  22. The riders at the Confederation of African Cycling Road Championships were given some respite from the weather on Wednesday for the Individual Time Trials of the Elite Men and Women and it was South African star Ashleigh Moolman Pasio who added a continental champs title to her impressive list of achievements in recent times with Ethiopian Tsgabu Grmay claiming the Elite Men’s title. Click here to view the article
  23. It was a historic day for Ethiopian cycling as Tsgabu Grmay became the first man to win an Elite Men's gold medal as he powered to victory in the Individual Time Trial on day three of the 2015 Confederation of African Cycling African Road Championships on Wednesday. // Photo credit: craigdutton.com The men’s Individual Time Trial was just as exciting and with a strong South African contingent the odds would have been in their favour but it was Ethiopian rider Tsgabu Grmay who was the fastest over the two laps to claim the continental crown.

 Moolman Pasio went into the Individual Time Trial with the Team Time Trial winners medal already in her hands and added the individual gold to that when she cruised to victory over fellow South African Heidi Dalton and Aurelie Halbwachs who finished second and third respectively. 

 The Bigla Pro Team rider was happy that she could add another continental gold medal to her impressive record of late and was glad that there was a little bit of a change from the intense heat that the riders had to ride in over the first two days. “Today was a bit cooler than Monday,” Moolman Pasio said. “It was a bit windy and that made the course a bit tougher but it was still a great course and I am glad to get another win for the South African team! “It is awesome that we won the gold and the silver and I am really happy for Heidi because she rode really well,” she mentioned. Recently crowned South African Time Trial and Road Race Champion Ashleigh Moolman Pasio added the Continental Individual Time Trial gold medal to her achievements on day three of the 2015 Confederation of African Cycling African Road Championships on Wednesday. // Photo credit: craigdutton.com Going off last is an advantage in the time trial as the rider has an idea of what time they need to achieve in order to win but it got difficult for Moolman Pasio as she powered her way through the field which meant she was never too sure of where she was going to end up. “I was always going to be racing against myself and when I set off and started overtaking quite a few of the riders in front of me I was not too sure about where I was in the field and what my time was going to be like! “I did feel comfortable throughout so I didn’t feel too much pressure which I hope I can take into the Road Race and we can defend our title as the South African team,” she added. It was a historic day for the Ethiopian team as Tsgabu Grmay became the first rider from the East African Nation to win an elite gold medal at the continental road championships. “I am so happy to be the first person from Ethiopia to win an elite gold!” an elated Grmay proclaimed. “It was a great race for me today and everything went perfectly and my preparation coming into the race had been good so I was confident that I could do well.”
 He was not going to be over-awed by the competition that he was going to come up against and with some cooler conditions out on the course Grmay thought that those played into his hands a bit and gave him the edge that he wanted.
 “I came into the race knowing that I had a chance of winning it if I rode well and everything went smoothly. “It all went to plan and it is great for the whole team who have come out here as well as the federation who have been working really hard for us riders recently and trying to grow the sport back home and so I am happy to give back with this win,” he said with a smile. 

 The race for second in the Men's Individual Time Trial was a tightly fought affair but eventually the silver medal went to Daniel Teklehaimanot from Eritrea and South Africa's Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg finished in third, claiming the bronze medal. Having won gold in the Team Time Trial on Monday, Eritrea's Merhawi Kudus added the Under 23 Men's Individual Time Trial gold to his growing list of achievements on day three of the 2015 Confederation of African Cycling African Road Championships on Wednesday. // Photo credit: craigdutton.com The Under-23 Men also took to the Time Trial course on Wednesday in pursuit of that individual gold medal and when the racing was done it was Eritrean and Team MTN-Qhubeka star Merhawi Kudus who claimed the spoils as he added this title to the Team Time Trial gold that he won with his national team on the first day of the competition. The silver and bronze medals in the Under 23 Men’s Individual Time Trial went to Valens Ndayisenga from Rwanda and Adil Barbari from Algeria respectively. 

 The Thursday schedule at the African Continental Road Championships will commence with the Junior Men's and Women's Road Races starting at 09:30am. The African Continental Road Champs will be streamed live on Thursday 12 and Friday 13 February (09:30-12:30) and Saturday 14 February from 09:30 to 14:30 on www.streamit360.tv. 

 Follow the conversation during the 2015 African Continental Road Champs on Cycling SA's social media platforms using the hashtags #CACroadchamps #africachamps on Twitter (@Cycling_SA) and Instagram (Cycling_SA). More information, including the road closures for Wartburg and surrounds, can be found here. 
 Entrance for spectators is free of charge. More information can be found at http://www.cyclingsa.com/2015-african-conti-road-champs. SUMMARY OF RESULTS - CONFEDERATION OF AFRICAN CYCLING CONTINENTAL ROAD CHAMPIONSHIPS - DAY THIRD Individual Time Trial 

Elite Men 1. Tsgabu Grmay (ETH) 01:03:05.663
 2. Daniel Teklehaimanot (ERI) 01:03:22.120 
 3. Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA) 01:03:42.676
 4. Louis Meintjes (RSA) 01:04:22.099 5. Rafaa Chtioui (TUN) 01:07:03.062
 6. Mouhssine Lahsaini (MAR) 01:07:25.406
 7. Azzedine Lagab (ALG) 01:08:03.498 
 8. Adrien Niyonshuti (RWA) 01:09:04.393
 9. Salah Mraouni (MAR) 01:10:31.768
 10. Richard Laizer (TAN) 01:11:16.102

 Elite Women
 1. Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (RSA) 38:19.925
 2. Heidi Dalton (RSA) 40:55.715 3. Aurelie Halbwachs (MRI) 41:04.254
 4. Yohana Dawit (ERI) 41:07.942
 5. Vera Adrian (NAM) 41:13.080

 Under 23 Men
 1. Merhawi Kudus (ERI) 01:05:08.262
 2. Valens Ndayisenga (RWA) 01:07:09.981
 3. Adil Barbari (ALG) 01:10:02.227
 4. Temesgen Buru (ETH) 01:10:18.512
 5. Bernaado Erastus (BOT) 01:10:27.200
  24. A fast start saw a number of attacks and counter attacks before a large group of 28 riders went clear. In that initial lead group, Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had both Merhawi Kudus and Johann van Zyl present. Alejandro Valverde was also in the move and so the threat he posed led Team Sky to reel the group back in around the 80km mark. By the time this general regrouping took place, a number of riders had already been dropped from the peloton. A flurry of attacks then ensued with Merhawi and Valverde eventually going clear once again. The duo built up a lead of 2 mins over the peloton before Valverde attacked in a descent with just 30km to go. After a brave and courageous fight, Merhawi would be caught by the chase group with 18km left to race. Valverde pushed on solo to eventually take the win as the select group of chasers battled it out for the minor places. Merhawi would cross the line in 10th place and also won the most combative rider prize of the day, this after Johann won the most aggressive prize yesterday, making it another good day out for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung. "I felt really good today. On the climbs I was also very comfortable and relaxed the whole day. It's unfortunate because I just couldn't follow Valverde on the descent. In the end I had to settle for 10th but I am happy with today's performance and also to with the most combative prize as well." Merhawi Kudus - Rider
  25. 20 year old Merhawi Kudus climbed to second place on the queen stage of this year’s Le Tour de Langkawi, on Sunday 2 March. The achievement by the Eritrean rider also ensured he moves up to second on the overall standing, trailing stage winner and race leader Mirsamd Pourseyedigolakhour (Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling Team) by 8 seconds. Click here to view the article
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