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  1. The final stage of the Tour de Yorkshire started with a 7-rider break going clear early on. The peloton allowed the gap to grow to 4-minutes with Bernhard Eisel, our African Team captain, controlling affairs from the main group together with our young Australian, Ben O'Connor. Kristian Sbaragli was tasked with looking after our two leaders for the day, Fraile and Pauwels. Eisel seemed to have an endless supply of energy as he rode on the front right up until 25km to go, pulling off just as the early break of the day was caught. Scott Thwaites then took over, using his local knowledge to drive the peloton into the first of four climbs. After Thwaites led all the way up the Cote de Deepcar climb, the peloton had shattered to contain only 45 riders. Jacques Janse van Rensburg, O'Connor, Fraile and Pauwels had all benefited from Thwaites strong pull. Janse van Rensburg then showed his fine form and attacked twice on the Cote de Wigtwizzle to further split the group. Coming into the penultimate climb of the race, our South African put in one last effort and provided a springboard for Pauwels to launch an attack. Over the summit and Pauwels had 30 seconds on the now 8 rider chase group, but Fraile was marking their every move. BMC Racing pegged the gap back down to just 10 seconds but they were not able to reach our Belgian before the top of the final climb, which peaked with 6km to go. As riders then tried one by one, to jump across to Pauwels, Fraile followed everything until the chasers had nothing left to give. Our Basque rider then saw his opportunity to bridge across to Pauwels which he did with an incredible acceleration. Our 2 African Team riders then rode the final kilometer together, in front of the massive Yorkshire crowd, to complete a fantastic team effort. 1st and 2nd on the stage also placed Pauwels and Fraile 1st and 2nd in the overall classification while Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka unsurprisingly, won the team's classification as well. The team was incredibly good today. The guys looked after us so well and controlled the race all day, it was then up to Omar and myself to be up there in the final. I had to pick my moment carefully and then when I went, Omar and Jacques did a fantastic job behind me. Omar then came across to me in the final kilometer. He has been a fantastic roommate to me this week and he is great guy. Basically, he gave me the victory today which makes him a great person. I didn't know at the time how much work he was doing for me because when I got the gap my sports director, Roger Hammond, told me I was not allowed to look behind me one more time. So, for the last 10km I pretty much did a time trial and only in the last kilometer I saw an ENVE wheel next to me, so I thought they had all caught me but it was only Omar. I have always wanted to win a race and now I have won two at the same but really, this is a team victory. Serge Pauwels - Rider
  2. Today was the first stage of the 2016 Tour de France that saw any significant amount of climbing as riders had to deal with just over 2000m of ascent between Limoges and Le Lioran. While 2000m climbing is not a huge amount by Tour de France standards, the majority of the climbing was squashed into the final 50km of the stage. With the GC favourites not too keen on showing their cards this early in the race, it was the perfect stage for the breakaway. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka knew the importance of being in the break today and so Daniel Teklehaimanot and Serge Pauwels were both very attentive at the stage start. Pauwels eventually made the move of the day with 8 other riders. The peloton let the group go to a 6 minute advantage, before some in-fighting began among the leaders. Van Avermaet, De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and Andrey Grivko (Astana) attacked and Pauwels tried to cross over to the trio alone. Pauwels got to within 12 seconds but couldn't close the gap. As the 3 rode away, the gap to the peloton ballooned up to 15 minutes and it was clear the winner would come from the breakaway. Going over the final 2 categorised climbs of the stage, Van Avermaet showed he was the strongest by going solo, and rode to a good win. Pauwels was hoping to hold off the chasing group of GC favourites and claim a top 10 stage result, but a crash on the penultimate descent of the stage saw our Belgian being caught with 3km to go and eventually finished in 26th position. A brave effort by our African Team rider who will no doubt be looking for more breakaway's later in the race. All of our other African Team riders completed the 216km stage with no real issues. Today I made the main break of the day. It was a difficult day, the heat made it really quite tough and I was suffering from it for a large part of the day and didn't really feel all that good. I tried my best today but in the end, the GC guys caught me. Serge Pauwels - Rider
  3. As the riders left Creches-sur-Saone Teklehaimanot made his intentions clear straight away as he attacked after just 9km of racing. Our Eritrean star managed to get a gap on the peloton before 4 other riders got across to him and together, the 5 would form the main break of the day. As the defending champ of the Dauphine King of the Mountains jersey, Teklehaimanot made sure he won the sprint for the KOM points on offer at the first 2 categorised climbs of the stage. At first, the peloton held the 5 escapees at between 2 and 3 minutes but with 40km to go, the break's continual effort to push on saw the lead increase to 5 minutes. There were still 2 categorised climbs to race over in the final 18km of the stage and Teklehaimanot would have needed to at least win maximum points on the penultimate climb to pull on the jersey. When the break started the climb the gap had dropped to just under 2 minutes and Team Sky and Etixx-Quickstep were really committed to the chase. Unfortunately, Daniel would be caught be the main group before the summit but with the points won earlier in the stage, he now sits 3rd in the King of the Mountains competition. With the break being reeled in on the climb, a number of attacks then came from the peloton and a large number of riders were also being shelled out the back of the main group at the same point in time. Pauwels put in a strong acceleration with 10km to go and eventually 3 other riders joined him as they went into the race lead with 8km to go. The quartet was able to work well together and started the final 3km climb with a 20" advantage. The yellow jersey group which was now only 30 riders strong, never gave up chasing though and the race came back together with 500m to go. Pauwels gave his all to follow the wheel of Jesus Herrada (Movistar) who came flying past with the line in sight but it was Herrada who took the stage win, Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) just edged ahead of Pauwels to secure 2nd place with our Belgian finishing in the final podium position on the stage. On the second last climb I felt very good. Edvald told me he was not feeling so good anymore and that I could do my own race. I took my chance once Daniel was caught. I felt very strong but it was difficult in the last kilometer as the peloton was getting very close. I tried everything I could. I am happy with my form and the result, although it is a missed chance. Serge Pauwels - Rider
  4. The 16km course was not one for the time trial purists at all as riders were sent straight up a vicious 5km climb before a tricky descent toward the finish, taking in another steep ramp of over 20% just before the line as well. It was no surprise when the climbers populated the top of the results sheet but Steve Cummings and Serge Pauwels both gave the hill a good bash for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. When Cummings crossed the line, he had the 3rd fastest time of the day but as the big general classification contenders came home, our Brit slowly got dislodged from his high placing. Eventually Cummings would end in 31st position, 2'07" behind Contador. Pauwels also did a solid ride, ending with a time just 3 seconds off of his teammate. In the overall general classification, Pauwels managed to climb up into the top 20 and would end this very difficult edition of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco in 19th place for our African Team. It was a good week for us. We were able to achieve a stage win which was our goal. We have to be very proud of that as this is probably the hardest 1-week race in the World Tour calendar. We also had Serge in the top 20 in the GC with all the big GC guys here, there was a lot of quality. The rest of the guys did well too, if it weren't for our 3 guys just missing the time cut yesterday we would have finished with all 8 guys. All in all, it was a good week. The guys came out of the week in good shape and healthy so now can look forward to the next races. Alex Sans Vega - Sport Director
  5. After yesterday's pleasant weather, the riders were exposed to another cold and wet day at the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco today. The start was fast and frantic with numerous riders trying to jump into the break of the day. The battle would go on for more than 70km as every time a group went clear, one or two teams who missed the move chased the group down again. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were also really active and on two occasion we thought the break would go with one of our riders present. It wasn't to be, Johann van Zyl and Steve Cumming's escape attempts were both neutralised. Eventually 6 riders went clear, and they rode to a maximum lead of 2'30". Team Sky controlled the peloton as the race made its way toward a tough final 35km which included 3 category 2 climbs. With Team Sky setting their usual high pace on the positive slopes, it wasn't possible to attack and the gap to the break started to decrease quickly. The final cat 2 climb was the toughest, with gradients of over 20%. Serge Pauwels was our best placed rider, hanging tough while the likes of Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) forced the pace with surging attacks. Over the top of the final climb, 3 of the original breakaway riders still had a 15" lead on the strung out main group. A general regrouping took place on the descent which saw the main group swell to a select group of 32 riders, Pauwels included. This chase group was able to pull back the 3 leaders with only 2km to go and then a fresh flurry of attacks followed. Sanchez got the jump on the rest and took the win by a few meters. Pauwels fought hard in the final and eventually came home 13 seconds down in 23rd place. Today was a tough, tough stage. Like the other days, we wanted to be in the break but it was a super-fast day and raining from the start. For some reason Sky and a number of other teams didn't let any of the groups go. At one point there was 14 riders in the front with Cummings, but they also brought this back. The next attack of 6 riders went away but we were already so far into the stage that Sky kept riding fast to keep the gap small. In the steep climbs there was more attacks and the bunch got reduced on each climb. In the final it came together, Serge was in the mix with the best 35 riders. He lost a little bit of time on the final hill before the line but he did really well, it was a super tough day. Alex Sans Vega - Sport Director
  6. It was a cold and wet day for the better part of today's 174km stage. It was a rolling course that greeted the riders from the start in Markina-Xemein but the final 2.8km of the stage was where the most severe gradients of the day awaited the riders. 4 riders went clear after 30km, but soon after it was just Stefan Denifl (IAM Cycling) and Angel Madrazo (Caja-Rural) that remained in the lead. As the duo rode ahead to a 5-minute advantage, Katusha, Tinkoff and Orica-Greenedge all took an interest in controlling the pace. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka kept its cards close to its chest today as the rain came down. Everyone knew the showdown for the day would happen on the final climb and so it was about delivering Serge Pauwels and Igor Anton to the final climb for our African Team. With 10km to go the break was caught and it was a flat out race for the foot of the climb. Johann van Zyl did a great job to support Anton in the closing kilometers while Pauwels craftily maintained a good position too. With ramps of over 20%, the race exploded as soon as the climb began. After a few accelerations it was Landa and Kelderman who got a 10 second gap. Pauwels came to the front of the chase from 2km to go but the severity of the climb meant that a handful of seconds was enough for the leading two. Pauwels would be our highest placed finisher of the day. Our Belgian came home in 23rd position and 31 seconds down on the stage winner Landa, who also took over the overall race lead. The finish was up a very steep goat path. Position at the bottom was crucial and the guys helped me out there and then I gave it my best shot. I am not explosive enough to do a super result on a steep climb like this but I was happy to be up there in the select group of riders for a long time. Serge Pauwels - Rider It was a hard stage, raining from the beginning and a lot of attacks from the start. We tried to be there with Mekseb Debesay and Daniel Teklehaimanot. After 30km, 4 guys got away, one was Louis Meintjes and he was too high on the GC so Astana chased quite hard. Eventually he dropped back and then the gap went out. Daniel, Johann and Mekseb worked to deliver the guys to the last climb. We thought we could make an attack but it was a very steep climb and the pace was really fast so it was not possible to make a move. Serge didn't lose much time and if you consider the quality of the field it wasn't a bad result but we must be part of the action tomorrow. Alex Sans Vega - Sport Director
  7. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) won the 5th stage of the Paris-Nice after a late solo break. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) took the bunch sprint for 2nd and race leader Michael Matthews (Orica-Greenedge) was 3rd. Click here to view the article
  8. It was a tough stage today as the 197km from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Salon-de-Provence included 5 categorised climbs, with Mont-Ventoux included among the collection of ascents. An early breakaway of 8 riders quickly opened up an 8-minute gap inside of the first 30km. The climbing then started and a natural selection began taking place as riders were dropped from the break and the peloton. The race would continually splinter and then regroup on each climb and respective descent. After the final climb of the day was completed, there was just a sole survivor from the original break 1 minute up the road. The peloton had also shrunk to just 30 riders with Serge Pauwels present for our African Team. Lutsenko took his chance to bridge across and then pass the sole escapee, to go in pursuit of victory alone. The peloton would regroup to 90 riders as they made their way to the finish but the Astana rider had 50 seconds on the pack and he would not be caught. Pauwels would follow the wheels of the sprinters to cross the line in 14th position. Today was not an easy day. The break went very early but with this course which included over 3000m of climbing and the ascent of Mont Ventoux, we knew it was going to be a hard day. The peloton broke a couple of times and then after the last climb we were left with only 20 – 25 riders beore a big bunch came back in the final. We sprinted behind an Astana rider who got away in the final but for me the most important was that I felt good. There will be opportunities tomorrow and the next day so we will see what we can do. Serge Pauwels – Rider
  9. After an early escape of 5 riders was neutralised with 20km to go, there was all to play for as 2 short steep climbs had to be dealt with in the finale of the stage. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were in a strong position with numbers at the head of the peloton. The pace was on, going up the first drag which saw a number of big name riders distanced. Our African Team took advantage of the situation by helping to drive the pace to the final climb which began with 5km to go. Pauwels & Boasson Hagen were accompanied by teammates Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Merhawi Kudus and Nathan Haas on the final kicker as a flurry of attacks shattered the peloton. Over the top it was all strung out but on the descent it regrouped somewhat with Pauwels, Boasson Hagen and Janse van Rensburg making the front split of 16 riders. Kudus and Haas were in a small 2nd chase group. It was with 2km to go that Jungels threw caution to wind with a solo attack. Pauwels tried to put in a big turn on the front to bring the lone leader back but he ended up getting a gap on the group. The Belgian put his head down but couldn't quite get onto the wheel of the Etixx rider before the line arrived. Jungels took a solo win, 6 seconds ahead of Pauwels, Bardet brought the chase group home in 3rd just 2 seconds later, after also putting in a late solo surge. Pauwels now sits 2nd on both the general classification and in the points competition after stage 1. With Boasson Hagen in 4th place today and Janse van Rensburg also finishing with the select front group in 14th, Dimension Data for Qhubeka go into the rest of the week's racing in a strong position. There was a big selection on the last climb and I wasn't actually in a great position at the bottom, so I was always just behind the leaders. I got back to the front group with Jacques on the descent at around 3km to go. The group split again going through a corner and when Jacques and I got back to the front there was only 1.5km to go. I wanted to do one good pull after the last roundabout for Edvald but nobody followed my wheel and so I kept chasing Jungels myself. Unfortunately, I could not catch his wheel in the end. Serge Pauwels - Rider It was a strong ride by all the boys today so we can be happy with our performance but we did miss the victory as well, and so we look forward to taking the top step in the upcoming days. Jean Pierre Heynderickx - Sport Director
  10. The Tour of Oman got off to a near perfect start for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka as Serge Pauwels come home in 2nd place, a few seconds behind Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quickstep). Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) was 3rd with our Edvald Boasson Hagen in 4th. Click here to view the article
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. In a short stage of just 111km, the battle for the yellow jersey would well and truly be on as there would be two major climbs on the menu today. While an initial break of 4 riders got away, it was inevitable that they would be caught as Nairo Quintana looked to mount a challenge for the yellow jersey. The race came down to the infamous Alpe d’Huez, where the break was absorbed back into the yellow jersey group and the climbers of this year’s Le Tour came to the fore. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung still had Serge Pauwels in contention, with Steve Cummings also on hand to provide support as the team looked to defend Serge's 13th position on GC. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) would be one of the main aggressors as he got the jump on the favourites group early on, on Alpe d’Huez. Quintana though had good legs and set off in pursuit of the Frenchman while race leader, Chris Froome (Team Sky) could not respond to the Colombians accelerations but rode within himself to hold on to his leaders jersey by the end of the stage. Pinot would be rewarded for his opportunistic attack with the stage win while Quintana won over more fans with his attacking riding style to finish 2nd. Hesjedal, also won of the initial attackers on the final climb held on for 3rd. With Steve Cummings guiding Serge home 5 minutes down, and Daniel Teklehaimanot just a few minutes back, MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung easily held on to 5th place in the overall team competition. Today was really tough because I could start to feel that I was becoming pretty empty. It was already a big war on the Croix de Fer and luckily I could come back on the descent because I was actually dropped on the Croix de Fer itself. I was back in the yellow jersey group before the Alpe d'Huez started and then I just rode Alpe d'Huez at my own rhythm. My challengers for 13th position only really came back to me with 4km to go and then I had to give everything to stay on the wheel but I succeeded and I am super happy with the result overall. Serge Pauwels - Rider It was a really good stage. I've never done Alpe d'Huez before so it was just a great way to wrap up what has been a great tour for us. There is not much else to say, it has been a great 3 weeks with the team. Steve Cummings - Rider
  14. The 20th stage of the Tour de France would be the final battle for the GC riders with Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) taking the spoils on Alpe d’Huez. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) would be the rider in 2nd place while Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin) completed the podium. Click here to view the article
  15. Although the stage was only a short 138km, it would be toughest day of racing in the Tour de France this year. Starting from kilometer zero with a cat 1 climb, the peloton exploded during those first 15km of uphill. Merhawi Kudus was one of the first attackers on the climb and Daniel Teklehaimanot and Steve Cummings were also very active on the steep gradients. By the top of the first climb there was no actual break but only around 20 odd riders made up the peloton, including Daniel. On the descent a number of riders were then able to make contact with the front of the race again, Steve and Serge Pauwels were two of the riders were descended their way back into contention. As we hit the valley floor a few more attacks followed which saw Steve join 20 riders in the only real escape of the day. Daniel missed the move initially but then rode across a 45 second gap on his own to join Steve upfront. The peloton continued to swell as the break rode ahead to a lead of 2 minutes. The break then hit the longest climb of the race, the 22.4km Col de la Croix de Fer where again, the race would explode. The main GC contenders would dictate proceedings from here on while every other rider would just try to limit their losses. The entire break was caught on the HC category climb, except for Pierre Rolland (Europcar), but the Frenchman was soon caught and then later passed by a solo Nibali. Nibali would start the final climb of the day, the cat 1 La Toussuire with a 2'20" lead over a very select yellow jersey group. Serge was a further minute down the road and Daniel and Merhawi were trailing our Belgian rider by another 45 seconds. The final climb would sort the strong riders from the strongest, and Serge eventually crossed the line in 21st place, good enough to move up 1 more place on the GC to 13th. Merhawi and Daniel fought valiantly to try and keep our team competition dreams intact, as they crossed the line in 26th and 33rd respectively. Despite their best efforts we would still drop from 2nd to 5th place out of the 22 teams in the team competition, still a respectable result though for our African team. Today was a very tough stage. The GC contenders like Contador already started attacking on the very first climb of the day which was a bit surprising and it also made the racing a bit different to the previous days. I could feel the efforts of the last few stages but I remained confident and just stayed within my limits. I was really well supported by my teammates who did a fantastic job for me. Steve Cummings stayed with me on the first climb and then later on also Merhawi, Daniel and Steve again, helped me on the Croix der Fer when the race really exploded. They helped me to make up as much time as possible. In the end I think I actually did pretty well, I didn't have these big accelerations to follow the best guys but I rode for what I was capable of today and I'm super happy that I could move up one place on the GC. It means a lot of riders were struggling today and I will try and defend it tomorrow with Paris just around the corner. Serge Pauwels - Rider
  16. The 19th stage of the Tour de France would be the toughest day of racing yet. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) would secure the stage win ahead of Nairo Quintana (Movistar) with race leader, Chris Froome (Team Sky) finishing 3rd. Click here to view the article
  17. As has been the order of proceedings over the last few stages, a big breakaway went clear in the opening kilometers of the stage. Serge made sure that he was part of the 29 riders that went clear. Team Giant-Alpecin and Trek Factory Racing made it tough for the break to get much of a lead as they hovered around 3 minutes for most of the day. The parcours would provide for the toughest test though as no less than 7 categorised climbs would be completed today, including the massive out of category Col d' Glandon as the penultimate climb of the day. Serge was consistently brilliant, riding within himself to always stay in touch with the front runners in the break. Over the Glandon, Bardet attacked while Serge summited in 5th place. It was a mad dash to the final climb of the day and Bardet's superior descending skills saw him start the picturesque Lacets de Montvernier with a 40 second lead over the 8 chasers that remained, including Serge. In an every man for himself effort for the final 13km of the stage, Bardet would not be caught. Serge used the last bit of the strength he had left to secure 6th place for our African team. Serge would move up 1 spot on the general classification to 14th and Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung held on to its 2nd place in the overall team competition. It was the same story as the last few days with Sky setting a solid pace from the beginning but still a number of guys were getting into the break. I made sure I was up there again but today was a lot harder than any of the other days. I was really struggling in the beginning but I kept believing in myself. On the Glandon I was feeling better and actually went over the climb in the top 10 still. I think this was the best result I could do today, maybe I could have done a better sprint at the end for 3rd but I was the whole day fighting on my limit so I am happy. Serge Pauwels - Rider Today was again an amazing day for the team. After such a hard Tour de France we had Serge Pauwels in the break again and he made it to the finish. 6th place for our team is amazing. Michel Cornelisse - Sport Director
  18. The 3rd stage of the Tour de France saw Joquim Rodriguez (Katusha) take the victory atop the Mur de Huy, just ahead of Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R La Mondiale). Froome would also move into the yellow jersey. Click here to view the article
  19. The day would start of positively for our African team as Serge Pauwels got into the break of the day, escaping with 3 other riders from kilometer zero. While the break was caught with around 60km to go, Serge's efforts were well rewarded as the first Belgian across the line at kilometer 15 would win a car. Being the only Belgian in the break, Serge will drive away with a brand new Peugeot after the Tour. The main talking point of the day was the massive crash that occurred just after the break had been caught today. A touch of wheels at high speed saw a massive pile up of around 40 riders. Daniel Teklehaimanot, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg and Tyler Farrar all went down. Thankfully each of our riders were able to re-join the peloton after race organisers neutralised the race due to the dramatic crash. Once things got underway again with 50km to go it was a mad dash to the foot of the Mur de Huy. Our 2 young Africans, Louis Meintjes and Merhawi Kudus would form part of the select favourites group that arrived at the foot of the Mur together. Louis would cross the line 22nd and Merhawi 30th in the end. It was quite nervous leading up to the point of the crash as everyone was fighting for position before the first climb of the day. There was a touch of wheels up front and all I saw was guys on the floor. We were going so fast on that downhill that there wasn't even chance to brake and about 30-40 riders went down. I crashed on the grass so I am okay. Daniel and Tyler look a bit worse than me but they still look okay to continue. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg - Rider We had massive support today from before the start with so many fans coming out to see us. There were Eritrean flags everywhere so when I started I was really motivated. Unfortunately it was a bad race. I have never seen anything like this before, everybody gets so nervous and there was a massive crash. So when I was riding in the peloton I was a little bit scared and didn't ride right in front but actually I was feeling good. Merhawi Kudus - Rider
  20. Our South African outfit was one of the most active teams all week and todays final stage saw no difference. After a break of 4 rider got away early on the peloton kept its cards close to the chest and held the escapees within distance. With 5 km to go the bunch was all together, but Mas used the narrow cobbled climb towards the finish to attack. He got away and was able to hold off the rest of the peloton. The finale was hectic, but MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung stayed safe. Youcef Reguigui was the teams best placed finisher on the day, coming home in 14th position. While he fought hard and managed to stay close to the front, the team also made sure that Serge finished without trouble. In addition to Serge's 5th place in the overall, Songezo Jim rounded off the team's performance coming 3rd in the KOM classification. We focussed on the sprint today and during the stage I felt really well. The final circuit suited me well, so I felt very comfortable in the wheels of Jay Thomson, Theo Bos and Kristian Sbaragli, who tried to set me up for the sprint. The last 2 kilometers have been hectic due to the narrow cobbled roads and a few splits in the peloton. I had to spend a lot of energy to stay in the front group, so the result is not really what I hoped for. Nevertheless, the team put in another strong performance. We rode really well this week and it makes me proud that we’ve been able to present Qhubeka and our partners in the way we did. Youcef Reguigui – Rider I am very proud of how the team rode this week for me in the Tour of Turkey. I have received the best support all week, but more importantly, we were fighting together every day as a team. We left our mark on the race instead of just taking part. That was really good. Even other teams based their strategies on our tactics. Serge Pauwels – Rider It was our plan to get another good result today. We didn’t quite manage that but given how the team rode all week I can just be happy. Everyone did a great job. We rode very active all week and it was great to see the fighting spirit of our African team! Securing 5th place in the GC for Serge is a good result and underlines our performance at the Tour of Turkey. Jean-Pierre Heynderickx -Sports Director
  21. The final stage of the Presidential Tour of Turkey was a fast one. The peloton had to cover 121 km in Istanbul, and the Turkish capital provided a spectacular scenery. In the end Luis Mas (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) was able to hold of the likes of Mark Cavendish (Etixx-QuickStep) and teammate Carlos Barbero to take the win. In the overall Kristian Durasek (Lampre-Merida) secured the win, with MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung’s Serge Pauwels finishing in 5th position. Click here to view the article
  22. The race was animated by an early break of four. Malcolm Rudolph (Drapac), Rik Jans (Wanty-Group Goubert), Jarl Salomein (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Ahmet Akdilek (Torku) were able to establish a lead of over 4 minutes, before the peloton started chasing. Overnight race leader Davide Rebellin (CCC-Sprandi) put his team to work with MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung staying close at the front of the race. With the steep climb towards Selçuk it was never a question, that the break would be reeled in. The overall was in within reach for a few riders and it didn’t take long until the attacking started. In the end it was Bilbao who got the better of Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), after going clear on the last two kilometers. Heiner Parra (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) came in for third. Behind the trio the race was split in several groups with Serge keeping close on the wheels of the favorites. He fought hard to stay in the group and eventually came home just 34 seconds down on the stage winner, thus managing to stay within the top10 of the Tour of Turkey. Songezo Jim is another rider who managed to get through the day without damage. He still sits second in the KOM classification, just five points down on the leader, Pablo Valencia (Colombia). My teammates did a great job today in helping me for the final climb. Unfortunately, I did not have the legs today I was hoping for, so I had to defend rather than to attack. Tomorrow is another day and we will see what we can do. Serge Pauwels – Rider We saved our GC position today and it was good to stay up there with Serge. With two stages to go there are still a few options. We have been riding strong every day and today it was good for us, to save our legs for the final. Serge is still in the top10, which is really good for us. Additionally, Songezo is just 5 points short on the KOM jersey so we are also keeping our options in this classification. Jean-Pierre Heynderickx – Sports Director
  23. Stage 6 of the Tour of Turkey was one of the decisive stages for the overall. Kristian Durasek (Lampre-Merida) took over the race lead after 184 km from Denizli to Selçuk. The stage was one by Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA). MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung’s Belgian climber Serge Pauwels made good work of his Cervélo S5 on the days final climb and finished in 13th place. In the overall he sits now 6th. Click here to view the article
  24. It was after 25km of racing that Songezo went clear with 4 other riders. Building up a lead of 4 minutes, the attackers then hit the first of the 2 cat 1 climbs for the day. Songezo was clearly one of the strongest as he, Juan Valencia (Colombia) and Jose Goncalves (Caja-Rural) pushed clear. The peloton had reduced the gap drastically on the big climb though and 7 riders jumped across to the 3 leaders. Youcef was part of the 7 attackers who bridged to the lead with just 35km to go. Our Algerian star then upped the ante and rode away with Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Jelle Wallays (Topsport-Vlaanderen) while the peloton reeled in the chasers. Youcef and co. would then hold on to a 30" lead for the next 20km as Astana and CCC Sprandi were forced to chase. The leading trio were caught at the foot of the final cat 1 climb. An early surge in the pace saw the main group whittled down to just a handful of riders on the 10km climb. Eventual stage winner, Davide Rebellin (CCC Sprandi) followed an attack by Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida) with 7km to go and the 2 would ride off to decide the stage. Behind them the main group blew to pieces on the final climb and Serge was strong enough to hold on for 5th on the stage, putting him 5th on GC as well. Eduardo Sepulveda (Bretagne-Seche) was the rider in 3rd place on the stage. I know this final climb pretty well having ridden it a few times already. Knowing that the final 3km were the toughest I thought Rebellin and Durasek went a bit too early. I felt I had the legs to respond but I was hoping to come back in the final 3km. I am still happy with my result, if you told me 5th at the start of today I think I might have taken it. Now there are still a few chances to gain some time for most of the climbers so we will have a good battle over the next stages and I will do my best to achieve a good GC result. Serge Pauwels – Rider Today the team was very strong. The whole day we were visible at the front of the race. Just as we had discussed in our meeting we wanted to have someone in the first break of the day and Songezo made the move. He was very strong and was even competing for the mountains jersey, if he won the last sprint he would have got it but he ended 2nd. Still it was a great ride because with him in the break we didn't have to ride on the front. When they came back Youcef was in the next attack, keeping the pressure off our guys. At the end Serge did a good ride to get a good result for the team. The whole team was very good and we are happy with our stage performance. JP Heynderickx - Sport Director
  25. The 3rd and queen stage of the Tour of Turkey saw MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung take the racing to the rest of the peloton. Songezo Jim and Youcef Reguigui both went on the attack and Serge Pauwels would finish 5th at the line. Click here to view the article
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