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  1. All the transfer and sponsorship news is not looking good for DD...add the UCI world rankings and it's diabolical. Time to start winning boys! Goooo DD! http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/chris-froome-climbs-worldtour-ranking-after-giro-ditalia-victory/
  2. Stage 9 of the Tour de France took riders into Andorra and it was Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) who took the stage spoils from a large breakaway. Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) finished 2nd and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) took 3rd on the stage. Click here to view the article
  3. For Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, the stage did not get off to a great start as Mark Renshaw had to abandon the race due to illness picked up overnight. Renshaw was instrumental in our opening week success, delivering Mark Cavendish to his 3 stage victories. Our Australian took the start but after less than 5km of racing it was clear that Renshaw could not continue. The stage went on though and our African Team wanted to be part of the action despite the sad news. Daniel Teklehaimanot was one of the first riders of the day to attack as the race went up the first of 5 categorised climbs for the day. A number of counter attacks followed while Team Sky also kept a consistently high tempo going in the peloton. Eventually it was 20 riders who were allowed clear and Natnael Berhane was representing Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka in the move. With so much climbing throughout the day, it was a nervous stage for Cavendish and our African Team with the time cut being a constant threat. After the first big climb, Cavendish and Bernhard Eisel were 2 minutes behind the rest of the race and so apart from Berhane in the break and Serge Pawuwels in the yellow jersey group, the rest of our riders went back to help pace Cavendish and Eisel back to the pack. It was a strong show of teamwork which proved successful. As the race made its way into Andorra for the final 50km and where the final 3 climbs of the stage awaited, Berhane was still present in the lead group, Pauwels was riding well in the 35 rider yellow jersey group and a large grupetto of more than 70 riders had formed containing the rest of our African Team. With a number of strong climbers in the break, they were able to maintain enough of an advantage by the time the final climb to Andorre Arcalis began, ensuring they would decide the stage. Dumoulin went away just as the rain started to fall and his attack could not be matched. Berhane slowly started to fade on the final climb and was eventually caught by the select yellow jersey group with 3km to go. It was still a good showing by our Eritrean, and one from which he would have gained much experience. The grupetto came in a little over 30 minutes down on Dumoulin and Cavendish was able to retain the lead in the Green Jersey points competition as we head into the first rest day of this year's Tour de France. From the start many riders wanted to be in the break. We were 35 riders at first, Contador and Valverde were there as well and the peloton didn't want them to go away. Finally, they dropped back to the peloton and we started to pull harder on the front to get a gap. In the final the attacks started and I tried to follow as much as I could because I was hoping to make a top 10 result. I couldn't do it today but I hope to have a good rest now so that I can try again to get a good result. Natnael Berhane - Rider
  4. The Maritime Alps characterise the hinterland of Nice and the first climb of the day awaited the peloton only a few kilometres into the race. Our Algerian fast man Youcef Reguigui had to call it quits on the early slopes of the Côte de Gattièrres due to a knee injury he sustained a few days ago. Luck didn’t pick up for our African team with Jacques Janse van Rensburg crashing hard on the descent of this very climb. The South African finished the race, yet was out of contention for the later stages of the race. Over the following kilometres a group of 8 riders managed to go clear. Led be Antoine Duchesne (Direct Energie) the group built up a lead of around a minute with the Canadian biding his time again with around 30 kilometers to go to move into the KOM lead. In the peloton Tinkoff controlled the pace for Alberto Contador who finally came to the fore on the last climb. All riders of the former break were reeled back in, when the overall contenders put their cards on the table. After a few attacks by the Spaniard it was Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) who took the win. Geraint Thomas (Sky) denied Contador the second place, earning the yellow jersey of the race leader. Serge Pauwels was the best place finisher for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka on this tough day. He managed to stay with the favourites until the final climb but couldn’t match their pace in the end. We had had hoped for a good race for Serge and Jacques today. However, after the crash we had to change our plans. Jacques was in pain all stage long, but fought to the end. Serge tried to stay with the favourites, but it was a hard task being on his own for most of the race on such a demanding day. Tomorrow this Paris-Nice comes to a close and we hope for more luck then. Alex Sans Vega – Sports Director
  5. Starting in Aranda de Duero, Jacques Janse van Rensburg showed once again he is coming into some great form by making the early break of the day on stage 4 of the Vuelta a Burgos. Our South African was joined by 4 other riders and the quintet proceeded to ride their way to a 3-minute lead over the peloton. The 145km stage was up and down all day with 2 cat 3 climbs in the middle portion of the stage. Janse van Rensburg was first over the earlier cat 3 and then on the final cat 3 climb that peaked with 31km to go, Janse van Rensburg attacked the break along with Lluis Mas (Caja Rural). By going over the top of the final climb first, our South African climber took the overall lead in the King of the Mountains competition. With the jersey secured, Janse van Rensburg pushed on with Mas but the peloton made sure the duo was caught with 15km to go. The finish in Lerma was technical and the final 700m went up a narrow 7% gradient cobbled climb. It was a stage we had targeted with Haas during our pre-race planning and so once the break was caught, our 6 remaining riders moved Haas to the head of the peloton. It was a fantastic display of teamwork by our African Team. Being at the head of the race coming into Lerma was vital as some crosswinds saw a front split of 20 riders go clear. Haas was well placed in the front split with 2 teammates and even though they were brought back with 1,5km to go, our African Team riders put in a big acceleration to ensure Haas took the all-important left hand corner with 800m to go in the first 3 positions. From this point Haas showed his strength and class, powering up the cobbled road with nobody able to hold his wheel and taking a fine win for our African Team. Vuelta a Burgos has been a fantastic opportunity for us, the group that is going to the Vuelta a Espana, to come together and really create a good energy. I've always been a firm believer that teamwork makes wins happen, it doesn't happen purely because someone is good or strong. It happens because the whole team is together and doing exactly what they need to. The last 3 days we have had some absolutely fantastic moments and we've also had some misfortune, which is probably why hadn't had a victory yet this week. Today the team committed for me, which is a responsibility I take very seriously. I don't ask to lead a race unless I think I can win it. So a huge thanks to the guys for believing in me and I think the way we are working here is really exciting coming into the Vuelta a Espana. I think we will see something pretty exciting in the next month. Nathan Haas - Rider It is great day for the team here at the Vuelta a Burgos. From the first day we arrived at Burgos Nathan already had it in his head to go for the stage today, it was his big goal. He achieved it after some really great teamwork from all the guys. Every day the team has been riding well but today was really superb. Jacques was in the breakaway and he won enough points to take the lead in the King of the Mountains competition. In the final crosswind, Katusha really set the race on fire but the guys were in the front and able to deliver Nathan to the last corner in the best position. It was a great effort by the guys and then Nathan did his job in the final. We are super happy, and it is great motivation for the team going to the Vuelta a Espana. Alex Sans Vega - Sports Director
  6. Basque, Omar Fraile (pictured below), will lead the team into his home Grand Tour and will once again be eyeing the King of the Mountains competition. He won this classification 12 months ago and is taking to the start as one of the favourites for the blue-dotted white jersey. Fraile, who also wore the KOM jersey at the Giro d’Italia earlier this year, underlined his strong form at the Vuelta a Burgos a couple of days ago by winning the KOM competition. Another strong climber who showed that he is coming into shape is fellow Basque, Igor Anton. He finished the Vuelta a Burgos in 9th place overall as the team’s best finisher. Anton is a former Vuelta a Espana stage winner and also managed to finish the race inside the top 10 on two occasions. He’ll add plenty of experience to the team in the coming weeks. Two riders who will try to feed off that experience are our African talents Jacques Janse van Rensburg (pictured below) and Merhawi Kudus. The 2015 South African road race champion, Janse van Rensburg, played a key role in the team’s recent success in the build-up races to the Vuelta and will be an important rider once the road gradient kicks up. Eritrean, Kudus, will start the 4th Grand Tour of his career and try to leave his mark on the tougher stages. Our African team’s philosophy is to try and shine on every kind of terrain to give our #BicycleChangeLives campaign, the Qhubeka charity and our sponsors as much recognition as possible. It is only logical that Australian Nathan Haas, who won stage 4 of the Vuelta a Burgos, will spearhead the team on the hilly stages that suit his profile. He’ll be joined by another all-rounder in his quest for glory, current South African road race champion Jaco Venter (pictured below). Venter will share the role of being Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s road captain in Spain with Tyler Farrar. The experienced American, who has won stages in all three Grand Tours, will be the team’s conductor when it counts on the flat stages and he’ll try to pilot Kristian Sbaragli to another Vuelta a Espana stage win. The Italian’s lead-out will be rounded out by young South African Nic Dougall, who will ride his first Grand Tour. This year’s Vuelta route will offer 7 flat stages, 7 hilly stages, 5 mountain stages and 2 challenges against the clock, of which one is the opening team time trial. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka - Vuelta a Espana Omar Fraile [ESP] Igor Anton [ESP] Jacques Janse van Rensburg [RSA] Merhawi Kudus [ERI] Nathan Haas [AUS] Jaco Venter [RSA] Tyler Farrar [uSA] Kristian Sbaragli [iTA] Nic Dougall [RSA] The Vuelta a Espana is a really special race for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, it was the first Grand Tour we participated in back in 2014 just a short 2 years ago. So much has happened to the team, the global awareness of the team and the purpose we race for every day since then and it is largely thanks to the great organisation behind the event who gave us the chance. We are looking forward to the event this year with a special team focused on clear objectives and with a new rider to Grand Tours in Nic Dougall. Dreams continue to come true for this team, its riders and staff and the many people we race for every day and we look forward to the challenge of the 2016 event and the impact we can make. Douglas Ryder - Team Principal We arrived at the The Tour de France with a strong tactical focus that was centered around possible stage wins and days in a leader’s jersey for only a few guys. As such the Grand Boucle was a similar race to the Giro d’Italia earlier this year. Looking at the Vuelta a Espana we will take to the start with a strong squad to look for our chances at any given terrain. We’d like to win a stage and go for a leader’s jersey. The team did well in the built-up races to the Vuelta, we rode aggressively and successful. We’re not going to hide ourselves as this race is another chance for us to promote our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign on a big stage. Rolf Aldag - Head of Performance I'm looking forward to be riding my third Vuelta. This year’s edition runs mostly through the Northern part of Spain, so I guess it's going to be cooler than in the last two years and the racing will be very fast. We have a strong team, we worked well together at the Vuelta a Burgos where we got a win. It'd be great to get the same at Vuelta. I will be supporting the team and will try go in some moves and try and stay away after getting really close last year. It’s my first time doing two Grand Tours in a season, so it'll be interesting to see how it goes. Jaco Venter - Rider
  7. Stage 8 of the Vuelta a Espana presented an interesting course with a pan flat run of 178km into a savage 3km climb that had an average gradient of 13%. The day was one which suited the breakaway, just as it did in 2014 when we raced to the same finish line during our African Team's debut grand tour. Jacques Janse van Rensburg was motivated to make the break of the day and our South African did just that. Janse van Rensburg joined 10 other riders in the escape and on sweltering hot day, they continually opened up the gap over the peloton. As the finishing climb approached, the gap peaked at 10 minutes for Janse van Rensburg's breakaway and it was certain they would decide the stage. The attacks started from the break with 9km to go and as Katusha had two riders in the break, they had the upper hand when Jhonatan Restrepo got a gap on the rest of the break. Lagutin was able to sit in and save his legs while Janse van Rensburg had to take responsibility to ensure the attackers were brought back before the climb. Restrepo reached the climb first but the fresher legs behind soon caught and passed him. Janse van Rensburg was digging as deep as he could but the climb was savage and unrelenting. Lugutin waited until the final 200m to launch his decisive attack and won the stage. Janse van Resnburg came home in an impressive 6th place after a very difficult climb. The rest our African Team riders all made it home safely and the good news is that Igor Anton is starting to feel a fair bit better after three days of suffering with stomach pain. I was focused on getting into the break today as we knew there was going to be two races on today. The race for the stage and the race for the GC guys. It was already a good job getting into the move. I felt good all day and was really focusing on doing everything right to give myself and the team the best chance at a stage win. In the end I missed a lot of power and ended 6th after giving my best. I am happy with the end result and am happy knowing that I can be even better. Jacques Janse van Rensburg - Rider
  8. The first real test for the overall will be stage 3 with an uphill finish at Santa Barbara County, which covers the Gibraltar road climb for the first time. The stage 6 time trial in Folsom will be another challenge for anyone who has GC ambitions, as will the stage to Lake Tahoe the day before. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will be prepared for all race situations and has travelled with a well-rounded team to California. Mark Cavendish will spearhead the line-up of our African team and will be eying success on the flat run-ins. With Bernhard Eisel, Mark Renshaw, Matt Brammeier and Tyler Farrar he will have a strong support around him. Nathan Haas, Daniel Teklehaimanot and Jaques Janse van Rensburg will be our trump cards for an active and offensive racing on the hilly stages. The Amgen Tour of California is an exciting race. We’ll look for our chances in the sprints with Mark Cavendish, but do also have allrounders in the team that can be a surprise in the hilly stages. Nathan Haas was recently crowned the King of the Mountain at the Tour of Yorkshire. Together with Daniel Teklehaimanot and Jacques Janse van Rensburg he will be one of our key riders for the latter part of the race. We are here to show ourselves! Roger Hammond – Sports Director After my crash at Paris-Nice earlier this year I recovered well and felt my shape getting better during the Ardennes classics. I had some good and structured training in Italy and South Africa, so it’d be nice to get a good result in the GC here at the Tour of California. The profile of the race looks promising and should suit me. I hope it’s going to be a good week. Jacques Janse van Rensburg – Rider
  9. For Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka it would not be the best of days as our African Team lost Omar Fraile (pictured below), when the Basque rider had to abandon after 100km's of today's stage. Fraile crashed heavily during yesterday's stage but was still able to finish. Overnight though, the young climber picked up a fever and was not able to keep any fluid down. He started today's stage with the hope of nursing through to the finish but a really fast start meant this would not be possible and unfortunately he had no choice but to stop at the feedzone. The stage went on though and it was 4 riders who animated the 230km stage today by making the break of the day. While the stage was by no means flat, the sprinters teams were intent on bringing the race back together for a bunch sprint. This scenario would eventually materialize as with 10km to go, the race was all together. Once again our African Team was focused on delivering Kristian Sbaragli to the sprint as the final 1.5km suited our young Italian, being a slightly uphill pave surface. Sbaragli was well positioned going onto the pave but with no team really taking control of the leadout there was a slight lull in the pace which saw a number of riders swamp to the front before a left hand turn with 1km to go. Sbaragli was boxed in, lost position quickly and then there was also a crash in the corner. The sprint then opened up and Sbaragli found himself having to come from around position 20 when before the final corner he was 8th wheel. In the end our Italian had to settle for 11th place on the stage. We have to start with the bad news of the day, Omar stopped today. He had a bad night after he crashed yesterday. He threw up a couple of times in the evening and a couple of times during the race. He was feeling dizzy and had a headache, he really wasn't feeling well and you could see he was completely empty so he stopped in the feedzone. It's always a bad thing when you lose a rider in a grand tour, and more so when it is early on so we are sad to see him go. Then we went for Kristian in the sprint. He had a good position but was in the middle of the road. Some riders went past him on the left and others on the right, then he was too far back before the last corner. There was also a crash which he was behind, it didn't help the situation so it wasn't the result we were expecting from today. Jean-Pierre Heynderickx - Sport Director
  10. 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
  11. With an early start in Asmara, Daniel Teklehaimanot got the day off to a magnificent start by soloing to victory after a late attack in the final 10km of the race. It was Teklehaimanot's 2nd road race title of his career. Teklehaimanot crossed the line ahead of our Dimension Data Continental Team rider, Metkel Eyob while 3rd place went to Michael Habtom. I am very happy for this victory. Today the race was really difficult though, it was a flat course so we had to be on the attack all day to make it hard. The Eritrean jersey is something I am really proud to wear and now, the team is not final, but it is possible that I can show the jersey off at the Tour de France on every stage and not just the time trial like last year. Daniel Teklehaimanot - Rider The Rwandan National Championships was next to conclude which saw the result decided by an exciting sprint finish. Our young u23 rider, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, who rides for our Dimension Data for Qhubeka Continental Team was just able to edge out his World Tour team compatriot, Adrien Niyonshuti, to take a fine win. It was a close race. Yes, maybe I am a little disappointed not to win but I won the time trial and now I have more happiness for my friend Bonaventure to win, and to see the talent in Rwanda increasing. This was very special to me because these riders come from my academy and already this year I have been training with Bona and Valens in Italy so I am happy still for the success of Rwandan cycling. Adrien Niyonshuti - Rider In Belarus, the excellent performances continued as Kanstantsin Siutsou also soloed to victory after attacking with just over 30km to go. Siutsou crossed the line more than 2 minutes ahead of Nikolai Shumov while Branislau Samoilau (CCC Sprandi) finished in 3rd. It was also Siutsou's 2nd ever national road race title of his career.In Italy we had Kristian Sbaragli representing our African Team while Serge Pauwels took part in the Belgian Championships and Bernard Eisel competed for the Austrian title. All 3 riders were in the thick of the action until deep into the race but in the end the trio were not able to challenge for a podium result. Matt Brammeier kept us all on the edge of our seats right up to the finish in the Irish Championship event. Brammeier was part of the early race deciding 7 rider breakaway but it was Nicolas Roche (Team Sky) who escaped with 10km to go that took the win. After 188km of racing, Brammeier came home just 30 seconds behind Roche with Michael O'Loughlin (Team Wiggins) in 3rd. I'm gutted to not have finished the job off today but a split second of hesitation and there was no catching a flying Roche. I was happy to be up there racing for the win and in the end I am quite proud of how I raced today. Matt Brammeier - Rider Edvald Boasson Hagen was the next rider to add to our trophy cabinet as he powered to an incredible win at the Norwegian National Championships. Boasson Hagen surprised all, with a stinging attack in the final 6km to hold on and arrive at the finish in Bodo just 4 seconds ahead of Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Kristoffer Halvorsen (Team Joker - Byggtorget). It was Boasson Hagen's 3rd road title and an impressive 11th national title when you include the 8 time trial titles he has already won. It was an insanely fast race. Lillehammer Cycling Club was really good today, they raced like seasoned pros to control the race together with Coop. I couldn't have asked for more out of the Lillehammer boys. It was really awesome what they were able to do. In the final I just had to take it very long. I gave everything I could, there was nothing left that I could give so I am happy that it was enough. Edvald Boasson Hagen - Rider Mark Cavendish was our final rider in action as he took part in the British national road race. Cavendish rode an incredible race, crossing to a dangerous 14 rider breakaway mid race with 7 other riders. A new escape group of 4 riders then formed and our Manxman, who was being heavily marked, rode a tactically smart race to ensure the race eventually came down to a 13 rider sprint. After 207km it was only half a wheel’s length that separated the Manxman from the gold medal as Adam Blythe (Tinkoff) took the win. 3rd place went to Andy Fenn (Team Sky).With all our national championship events now complete for the year, our African Team can be proud of our medal tally which reads as follows: 8 gold medals (Teklehaimanot RR&TT, Boasson Hagen RR&TT, Siutsou RR&TT, Venter RR, Niyonshuti TT) 4 silver medals (Meyer RR, Niyonshuti RR, Cavendish RR, Brammeier RR) 3 bronze medals (Janse van Rensburg RR&TT, Kudus TT)
  12. 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
  13. The 250-kilometer-long race through the Dutch province of Limburg started fast and it took about an hour before the first break of the day managed to get up the road. 11 riders were allowed a gap of about 5 minutes. They stayed out front nearly all day and it was only within the last 50 kilometers that the break fell apart, when the weather suddenly changed. Rain started to become a factor and saw some of the pre-race favorites losing contact with the peloton. On the grueling Keutenberg, the steepest climb in the Netherlands, Edvald Boasson Hagen got dropped together with Philippe Gilbert (BMC) after being held up by a crash. Last year’s winner Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) was also among those who wouldn't be in for the win later on. Boasson Hagen eventually managed to fight his way back to the bunch. However, it was up to the others to make the racing in the late crosswinds. Pauwels tried to ride it smart and moved up to the front of the peloton with around 10 kilometers to go. The last riders of the early break were caught inside the last 15 kilometers. Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff) tried to stretch his legs with 10 kilometers to go, but his move didn't prove to be successful. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) was the next to attack. The Belgian got a gap of nearly 20 seconds but he couldn't hold on either. Eventual winner Gasparotto was the next to go on the offensive and his attack would be the telling move. The Italian, who won the race first in 2012, attacked on the final ascent of the Cauberg and only dragged Michael Valgren (Tinkoff) with him. The duo managed to stay away, with Gasparotto having the faster finish. 3rd place went to Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) who led the peloton over the line, including our African team's best placed finisher Pauwels, who crossed the line 33rd. It was a tough race and the rain in the finale made it really hard. I actually felt pretty good all day, but lost my legs somehow in the end. I saw that a lot of other riders had the same problem, possibly from the wet and cold. I moved to the front of the peloton, hoping for a split in the crosswinds. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. That's racing I guess, so let's look forward Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Serge Pauwels - Rider It was not our day. We wanted to be part of the break. This didn't happen, even though we tried hard. We then changed our focus on the key stages of the race. Rain and crashes didn't work to our favor though. Edvald and a few others were held up by a crash on the Keutenberg and had to chase back to the bunch after that. In the finale we had Serge still up along the front of the race, but the final time up the Cauberg was too hard. There are two more races in the Ardennes coming, so we have to keep the moral high and focus on them now. Jens Zemke - Sports Director
  14. The Swiss UCI 1.HC race is an event familiar to our African Team as it will be the 3rd time we participate in this testing 188km race. Last year Kristian Sbaragli had a solid ride in Gippengen and sprinted to a fine 5th place finish. This year Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will once again look to play a significant role in the race. Sbaragli will headline our team on Thursday together with Reinardt Janse van Rensburg with a podium result being the immediate goal for our African Team. Natnael Berhane, Merhawi Kudus, Jay Thomson, Adrien Niyonshuti, Matt Brammeier and Mekseb Debesay ensure we have a really strong and well-rounded team in Gippengen. As in previous years the race will be run over 10 laps of a 18km course. The main obstacle of the lap presents itself in the first 5km as there is a 2.5km climb with an ever changing gradient. The road then rolls gently downhill toward the finish-line. While last year may have ended in a bunch sprint, the climb which needs to be completed 10 times ensures that it is only the fast men with good climbing ability who will be in contention for the victory. We come year on year to Gippengen because it is a super nice race with a fantastic atmosphere and the level is very high. This race also suits our team well, last year Kristian Sbaragli was 5th and this has been our best result at the race so far. We are happy to be back at this wonderful race, it also comes just before the Tour de Suisse and so, it serves as a good final test to see where we are standing. Jens Zemke - Sport Director
  15. This year's Liege-Bastogne-Liege would be the ultimate test of mental and physical strength as apart from the challenging 253km course, riders also had to deal with below zero temperatures, wind, rain and snow throughout the day. The weather was so treacherous in fact that the organisers had to divert the race after 50km, shortening it by 30km, due to heavy snowfall in the area. It became a race of attrition really, the weather and climbs just wore the riders down and this resulted in the peloton thinning out almost automatically. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, despite the bad weather, was actually looking really good heading into the deciding points of the race. Steve Cummings' fine run of form continued as he quietly went about his business, moving around riders who were being shelled out of the back of the peloton one-by-one. When the early break of the day was brought back with 23km to go, the peloton was largely reduced yet Cummings still had Igor Anton and Merhawi Kudus for company at the head of the race. Once the race went over the Cote de Saint-Nicholas at 7km to go though, it was down to 26 riders and our Brit was still very much in contention. The race defining moment came on the new cobbled climb the organisers added to this year’s course, the Cote de la Rue Naniot, with just 3km to go. Poels, Albasini, Costa and Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing) got the gap on the main group at the top. The quartet put 15" into the chasers and this was enough to decide the victory down the road. Cummings had to dig deep on the final two climbs and eventually, he would finish in an honest 19th place on the day. Finally, we can be satisfied, it was a solid performance by our boys today. Especially Steve, he was right up there finishing in the first group with all the big names there. With Steve you never know, he could always attack with 2 or 3km to go and succeed so we were part of the game today. In the last hour of racing we also still had 5 guys in the first group and this was after some terrible weather conditions. It was so cold, wet and snowing. It was horrible actually so I hope the boys can recover well now because some go to Romandie and others to Yorkshire, so we have a tough program coming up. Jens Zemke - Sport Director
  16. 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
  17. The new kit will grace the WorldTour and the sport’s biggest races throughout 2020. It’s a brand that riders – old and new – will wear with immense pride, while at the same time continuing to showcase the impact that bicycles have in changing lives through NTT Pro Cycling’s work with Qhubeka, which has recently distributed its 100,000th bike. The team for 2020 features nine exciting new riders, to supplement the current pool of talent as the team looks to race with a goal of establishing itself among the top ten teams in the world. The 2020 line-up includes:(First Name, Surname, Country, Age) 1 Carlos Barbero ESP 28 2 Samuele Battistella ITA 20 3 Edvald Boasson Hagen NOR 32 4 Victor Campenaerts BEL 28 5 Stefan de Bod RSA 22 6 Nicholas Dlamini RSA 24 7 Benjamin Dyball AUS 30 8 Enrico Gasparotto ITA 37 9 Amanuel Gebreighzabier ERI 25 10 Ryan Gibbons RSA 25 11 Michael Gogl AUT 26 12 Reinardt Janse van Rensburg RSA 30 13 Ben King USA 30 14 Roman Kreuziger CZE 33 15 Gino Mäder CHE 22 16 Louis Meintjes RSA 27 17 Giacomo Nizzolo ITA 30 18 Ben O'Connor AUS 23 19 Matteo Sobrero ITA 22 20 Andreas Stokbro DNK 22 21 Dylan Sunderland AUS 23 22 Jay Thomson RSA 33 23 Rasmus Tiller NOR 23 24 Michael Valgren DNK 27 25 Max Walscheid DEU 26 26 Danilo Wyss CHE 34Each of the riders were selected with the help of a technology solution that was co-innovated by NTT and NTT Pro Cycling. The solution leverages advanced data analytics that helps the team to select riders, prepare its race calendar and assign the right riders to the right races. Technology also helps the team monitor the health and wellness of its riders through a mobile application, and business-focused applications such as asset tracking, vehicle tracking and monitoring, help the team to function as a well-organized global business. Together, we’ve created the most technically advanced team in the WorldTour. "Thanks to all of our partners, and in particular our title sponsor NTT Ltd.. We strive to be the benchmark within the sport through being a performance-driven, technology-enabled team that is underpinned by our unique purpose-led approach in support of the Qhubeka charity.“Our commitment to changing lives together with Qhubeka remains stronger than ever and we’ll be looking to do so with even greater enthusiasm in 2020. Together with our staff, riders and valued partners this core belief remains a foundation of our organization “Our team’s story now continues into the next phase, which will see us use our established platform to aim higher and to shoot further. We truly are a team that was born in Africa but created for the world.” Doug Ryder, Team Principal, NTT Pro Cycling “We’re delighted to be continuing our partnership with Doug and the team under the NTT brand in 2020. As headline sponsor, we help NTT Pro Cycling to leverage technological innovation to realize its ambition of being ranked among the top 10 cycling teams in the world. We’ve brought together our data platforms, analytics and machine learning, and combined them with the NTT Pro Cycling’s expertise in athletic performance to create a truly unique team that is focused on being the best in the world, whilst riding for a cause.” Ruth Rowan, Chief Marketing Officer, NTT Ltd.
  18. The time trial specialist boasts a stellar palmarès that also has the unique distinction of including the World One-Hour record, set in Mexico earlier in 2019, where he completed a distance of 55.089 kilometres. It was an achievement that has been one of the highlights of the cycling season and, together with the team involved, underscores his attention to detail and meticulous level of preparation at every level. It is this degree of commitment Victor has demonstrated in putting into the goals that he sets himself that also perfectly aligns with the vision of our team, together with our technology and technical partners. The 27-year-old turned professional in 2014 with Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise where he spent two seasons before stepping up to the WorldTour with LottoNL-Jumbo. Thereafter he will have spent two seasons at Lotto Soudal before stepping in this “new adventure” with Team NTT. In 2013, before turning professional, he secured not only the Belgian u23 ITT title but also the European u23 ITT title. In 2016 he won his first senior national TT championships and the following year was crowned the European continental champion. In 2018 he was third at the World Championships, along with being crowned once again both the European and Belgian champion. In 2019, with his focus primarily on his successful World One-Hour record, Campenaerts also secured two impressive second place stage finishes during the Giro dÍtalia, a second place on GC and a stage win at the Baloise Belgium Tour as well as winning the time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico. I’m really looking forward to my new adventure with Team NTT next year. The contact that I had with the team earlier on (in the year) was immediately really positive – with riders at first, then with some of the staff and later on directly with Doug Ryder. The common interests were very positive for both parties, and we didn’t need talk too much in order for us to agree on working together.I had two super good years with Lotto Soudal, it was a really positive experience and it was really difficult to leave the team but I’m really looking forward to this new challenge. I’m sure that this is a step forward in my career and I’m really looking forward to it. Victor Campenaerts Welcoming Victor into our team is hugely exciting. His pedigree is exceptional and, in particular, to have someone join us with his time trialling ability is a huge boost for the whole team and for our bike partner BMC as we continue to innovate together. Victor has huge ambitions for next year with which we believe through our partners NTT and ALE and how we use technology, we are able to achieve great things together.2020 is a big year which of course includes the Olympic Games in Tokyo as a major highlight for many riders. Our title sponsor, NTT, has its roots in Japan and so to prospectively have Victor challenging for a medal there will be a fantastic moment for us. Douglas Ryder – Team Principal
  19. Where it all began Like winemaking, cycling demands a balance of passion, flexibility and a relentless desire to discover more. So, when Nederburg entered into a professional sponsorship agreement with Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka after the team’s first successful 2015 Tour De France ride, the partnership made perfect sense.But Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka aren’t just any cycling team. They ride for a cause. They ride for Qhubeka; a South African non-profit organisation, established in 2005 by Anthony Fitzhenry. Together Qhubeka and Nederburg believe that bicycles change lives, and you too can be part of the change. Working together to move people forward Qhubeka is an Nguni word meaning “to progress” or “to move forward”. A fitting name, as Qhubeka provides bicycles to connect people to schools, clinics and jobs. In communities where transport is limited and access would otherwise be restricted, these bicycles help people travel faster and further, and to carry more. By literally moving people forward, bikes act as tools for positive change.People “earn” bicycles through various programmes, like Qhubeka’s Learn-to-Earn Programme where children are rewarded for improved school attendance. People can also receive bicycles through improving their communities, the environment, getting involved in sports or providing healthcare and disaster relief to those in need. Qhubeka’s involvement in communities is sustainable, as these high-quality bicycles are produced at local assembly facilities by community members who’re trained as mechanics. Nederburg is home to one of these facilities. Here, 5 000 bicycles are produced to international standards every year. Each comes equipped with a helmet, pump, cable-lock and utility tool to ensure a safe and long-lasting relationship between bike and owner. Competition Closed Nederburg thanks everyone who pledged their support for Team Dimension Data and all those who very kindly donated to help Qhubeka move people forward. Well done to the winner: Mark C. (Western Cape)
  20. Each of our race bikes for the 209.5km stage from Toulouse to Bagnères-de-Bigorre will feature a special set of orange bar tape, chain and bottles as part of the celebrations. While our Giro helmets will also be orange, bearing the inspirational words of Mandela as well as the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation logo. Laureus, of which our team are ambassadors, joined us in Toulouse and presented the riders with their individual helmets at dinner on Wednesday evening. On the eve of this very special occasion the Chairman of the Laureus Academy and former All Blacks captain, Sean Fitzpatrick, and the Chairman of Laureus South Africa and Academy member, Morne du Plessis, shared with our riders and staff the role that Mandela played as a founding patron of the organisation, and the profound impact he made in sport. In attendance were also Laureus Ambassador Ryk Neethling and Executive Director of Laureus South Africa Brett Graham, while CEO Jonathan Hill will join the team at the stage finish in Bagnères-de-Bigorre on Thursday. Douglas Ryder, team principal, commented: “To have the likes of Sean, Morne, Jonathan and Ryk with us is such an honour. Every year we look in our own way to pay tribute to the incredible legacy of President Mandela and the values and ideals that he lived his life by. The example that he set for the rest of the world and is inherent belief that the power of sport has in changing the world is of huge inspiration to us. “It’s also a day that will forever remain incredibly special to us personally as a team with our first ever stage victory at the Tour de France on this day in 2015 by Steve Cummings. That alone is a moment which continues to inspire and drive us.”
  21. It’s a squad that carries a huge amount of experience and will look to challenge by way of aggressive racing, while at the same time staying true to our team’s goal of changing lives through bicycles. Among a host of fast men in our line up Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen is one of a handful who has represented us at every one of our appearances at the race since 2015. He’s won three stages of the Tour and comes into the race in good form with three wins under his belt this year, looking to again peak on the biggest stage. There’s a Tour de France debut for sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo who is full of confidence having won the final stage at the recent Tour of Slovenia. The Italian, who has raced seven Giro dÍtalia’s, brings a huge amount of experience into our line-up. South Africa’s Reinardt Janse van Rensburg will be eyeing a series of stages for the fast men who are keen on tackling the hills as he competes in the race for a fifth time. He made his debut for us in 2015 and has seven top-10 finishes to his name this season. Stephen Cummings will be looking at repeating his heroics on Mandela Day in 2015 as this year’s parcours is well suited to his style of racing. The former British champion has won two stages and will be looking for more in his sixth appearance at the race. There are two very exciting “new caps” in Roman Kreuziger and Michael Valgren. The former has four top-10 finishes at Le Grande Boucle and will relish the challenge that this very tough route poses. While for Valgren, one of the most exciting riders in the world in recent years, he’ll be looking forward to making his debut for the team, targeting a podium spot on a number of stages and going one better than his 4th place on stage 15 in 2018. Lars Bak joins countryman Valgren in a crucial support role in the team. This will be his eighth time taking on Le Grande Boucle and his versatility over varied terrain will make him a key asset to our team throughout the race. Concluding our selection is Ben King who joined our team in 2017 and rides the Tour de France for a second time having first ridden it in 2014. Last year was in some ways a breakout year for the American, as he impressed with two stage victories at the Vuelta a Espana. In an exciting innovation for our team in 2019 each of the selected riders has been assigned a unique Tour de France cap, chronologically referencing the number for which they have been “capped” for our team at the race since 2015. These are revealed for the first time in our team announcement video which was filmed on location in Khayelitsha, Cape Town at the Velokhaya Life Cycle Academy by young members who dream of competing in the future on the biggest stage. Our team visited Velokhaya on our annual training camp in November last year and it proved to be a source of great inspiration to our riders and staff who were present. In the last five editions of the Tour de France, 18 riders have represented our team and so this year sees a number of new riders being “capped”. Edvald Boasson Hagen, Stephen Cummings and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, are our only riders from our Tour de France debut in 2015 and so are assigned as numbers one, two and five respectively. While Valgren, Kreuziger, Nizzolo, Bak and King are all new additions. Really excited to announce this great group of riders who we feel will be the best suited to meet the team’s objectives we have set out for this years Tour de France. It’s a tough course but one that we’d like to be competitive in every stage, while at the same time continuing with our goal of changing lives through bicycles. Doug Ryder – Team Principal I finally got the call that I’ve been waiting for! I have been selected for the Tour de France with Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. For many Americans the Tour is the only race that they know so it’s a huge deal. I can finally tell everyone who asks every year “Yes, I’ll be there”. It’s a massive honour but also a huge responsibility, there’s really nothing like it. Ben King I’m super excited to be part of the Team Dimension Data Tour de France team. We are aiming for some wins and I can’t wait to go there and help a teammate get a stage win or perhaps even myself – that would be quite cool. So, I’ll see that I’ll be having another holiday in France – three weeks! It’s going to be perfect. Michael Valgren I’m very excited to be at the Grand Depart for the very first time. So at the moment I’m really looking forward to that opportunity and to enjoy the experience as it will be without a doubt one of my career highlights. Giacomo Nizzolo I’m really looking forward to starting another Tour de France, it will be my fifth Tour this year. I think that we’ve got a good team to target for stage wins and there are some good stages that suit me. So I’m really looking forward to this year’s tour again, three weeks of racing in the heat so I’m just completing my final preparations for that at the moment. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg I was pleasantly surprised about the Tour selection, I wasn’t expecting that. I’m very grateful to the team again for the opportunity to go to the Tour and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I think it’s a pretty open Tour, there are a lot of chances to be aggressive and I think it suits the team that we have very well and I hope that we can have a great July and every one can be proud of us. Steve Cummings Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will complete the 2019 season under the Dimension Data brand. In July this year, Dimension Data joined 28 remarkable companies, to become NTT (NTT Ltd.). The Team will rebrand to wear the colours of NTT in the 2020 season. We’re excited about the journey ahead of us as we work together to continue to innovate and reshape the sport of professional cycling.
  22. The final stage of the Tour of Slovenia got underway in pouring rain, but it wasn't so much the weather that was playing on the minds of the riders. A category 3 climb that peaked just 29km from the finish would be the major factor in today's 167km race. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were hoping to set up our Italian, Giacomo Nizzolo for the final, in the hope that he would be able to contest for the stage if he made it over the climb with the front group. Bernhard Eisel did a lot work controlling the early breakaway attempts before Gazprom and UAE-Emirates took the race on, on the climb. Over the top there was roughly only 30 riders left in contention but importantly for us, Nizzolo was able to make this selection. With the chase group over a minute down by the bottom of the climb, it was clear the front group would contest for the victory. It was a very technical finish with a narrow-left hand corner at 350m to go before a slight uphill cobble road to the line. Nizzolo made a strong move down the inside before the left corner, taking 2nd wheel around the bend. The Italian then launched his sprint early but showed he had great legs as he powered away from the rest, taking a brilliant victory, his 2nd win of the season. The hardest part of today was trying to make it over the climb. It required a big effort from me but fortunately I was able to make it over. When I saw the reduced group, I thought I could definitely win this stage. It was a long sprint with the corner at 350 to go, but I had good timing so in the end it went well. Our team controlled from the beginning but there was always that question mark around the climb. I'm really happy for this win so a big thank you to the team who worked not only all day but all week, thanks to them. We will really enjoy this. Giacomo Nizzolo
  23. The Criterium du Dauphine got underway with a short but challenging 142km stage between Aurilliac and Jussac. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka started on a positive note, as Julien Vermote made it into the 6-rider break of the day. Despite the 5 categorised climbs spread across the route, the sprint teams remained interested in today's stage and kept the gap to the breakaway under control. On the final climb of the stage, Deceuninck-Quickstep upped the pace and reduced the main group to just 60 riders, as the break splintered up the road. Boasson Hagen had to dig deep to stay with the group on the climb, but our Norwegian managed to do so as it peaked with just 18km to go. Mitchelton-Scott then took up the chase and ensured the final 3 remaining breakaway riders were caught in the final kilometer. Boasson Hagen was able to benefit from the chase work of the other teams and found the strength to beat them all in the final sprint for the stage victory. The stage win also secured the overall race leader’s yellow jersey as well as the green jersey, as the leader in the points competition for Boasson Hagen. I am really happy with today's win. It has been a while since I have won in the World Tour, so this is great win for me and for Team Dimension Data. I was really suffering on the climb, but I managed to stay there in the group while the best sprinters were dropped. That worked out really well for me. I had good speed in the sprint and am just really happy to have won and to take the yellow jersey, even if only for a few days. Edvald Boasson Hagen
  24. Every place we visit has something special. I love experiencing the different cultures. I love trying different restaurants. That’s the biggest advantage we’ve got as cyclists… we ride so much so we get to eat so much. During the off-season, I gained so much weight and thought it’s going to be so hard to lose it but as soon as training started, the weight disappeared. https://www.instagram.com/p/BkNTcz3gi2N/ During the racing season, I live in Andorra. I love the small town feeling as I come from a small town in South Africa. I could not live in a massive city like the centre of Rome or Barcelona. I don’t like not having the personal space. I just love the people in Andorra – they are the best. The culture is very open. A lot of people living there come from somewhere else so they know what it’s like to be an outsider. Thus, they are very welcoming. When I lived in Lucca, Italy, you had to make a big effort to integrate into the culture. In Andorra, they understand you are from somewhere else and welcome you. The Spanish people follow cycling, especially with the Vuelta going through there, so most of them know who I am but then there are also many people who don’t really know me, so that’s nice. I’ve lived there for two years now. If you told me today I could never go back there, the memories I would take with me is the scenery. I would miss the climbs and the mountains. When I don’t feel like training, only minutes into my ride, I get to take in the views and get inspired instantly. Half the time I stop at the top for no reason other than to take it all in.I am still working on my Spanish but there are so many different dialects. With one person, I’ll understand 80% of what they’re saying then with the next guy I can’t identify a word. I’m better at listening. My speaking is at a very basic level. I have to pre-prepare a sentence when I go somewhere, haha. I can’t think on the spot and find it easier to listen when two people are speaking then I don’t feel intimidated. The problem with the open culture is everyone there wants to learn English, they just want to speak English to me when I want to speak Spanish. As we start 2019, I want to take a moment to be grateful for what I get to do for a living. The bicycle has brought me so much. I was reminded of it during our training camp in Cape Town. We got to spend some time with the Qhubeka Charity. Just like me, the bike takes Qhubeka bicycle recipients places. I appreciated our time with the project. Any experience to give something back is nice. You see the impact first-hand and think you should do it more often. Supporting the charity and making a difference is a bonus of riding for the team. It’s a really good experience. It gives you perspective. We’re so far removed, living a different lifestyle that it’s easy to lose track of what others go through in life. Team Dimension Data distributing Qhubeka bicycles duirng a training camp in Cape Town. Photos by Carli Smith for www.zcmc.co.zaSo before the year gets too crazy when the racing calendar takes off, this is a quick time to pause and be thankful. This article was originally published by develo.cc.
  25. We are delighted to confirm our Dimension Data for Qhubeka continental team is set for its 4th full season based in Europe, in 2019. In what has become a clear pathway for African riders to the World Tour, we are excited for the journey that awaits our 11-rider class of 2019. In the last three seasons alone, no less than five African riders have graduated to the professional ranks from our feeder team. Stefan de Bod is our latest success story having secured a neo-pro contract with our World Tour team in 2019, joining fellow alumni, Ryan Gibbons, Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier and Nicholas Dlamini. For the 2019 season, our squad will comprise of 6 African riders, 4 of which are new additions to the feeder team. 20-year-old Connor Brown from South Africa, 19-year-old Natnael Tesfazion from Eritrea, and 19-year-old Mulu Hailemichael and 20-year-old Million Beza from Ethiopia. Both heading into their 3rd seasons with us, 2018 Tour of Rwanda champion Samuel Mugisha and our punchy Moroccan sprinter, El Mehdi Chokri will look to make the most of their final year as u23 riders. For the 2nd year in succession, our continental feeder team will be registered in Italy and based out of our service course in Lucca. The registration with the FCI and support from CONI allows our African riders to obtain sport permits, without which, racing for the full season in Europe is nearly impossible for most African riders. As an Italian registered team though, it is mandatory that we have at least four Italian riders on our squad and so we are delighted to welcome back Matteo Sobrero and Luca Mozzato for the 2019 season. They will be joined by the talented 20-year-old duo of Alexander Konychev and Samuele Battistella. The final rider on our roster is the Slovenian Zwift Academy winner, Martin Laveric. Laveric was one of 30 000 Zwift Academy entrants, who contributed to 850 Qhubeka bicycles being donated to kids in Africa. The 19-year-old was awarded his contract after winning the Zwift Academy final which took place at our 2019 World Tour team training camp in Cape Town last November. In one final coup for our feeder team, we are happy to welcome former Italian professional and 2002 u23 World Champion, Francesco Chicci as Sports Director of Dimension Data for Qhubeka Continental in 2019. Our U23 team has been truly successful over the past 3 years in introducing young riders to the rigours of racing at the highest levels of international cycling. All of our 2019 team members have already shown that they have talent in abundance and we hope to support their development as cyclists so that they can earn positions on the best professional teams in the world.Naturally, while allowing our young riders to develop and improve, we also hope to achieve success in the races we compete in and we are hoping for victories in European and African events in 2019. Kevin Campbell - Team Manager
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