Africa’s first Pro Continental cycling team, MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung, have announced their squad for their Tour de France debut next month.
A total of seven African and four international riders have been included in the history-making squad for La Grande Boucle, which will be whittled down to a final selection of nine.
South Africa is represented by the talented trio of national road race champion Jacques Janse van Rensburg, continental road race winner Louis Meintjies and former SA time-trial champ Reinardt Janse van Rensburg.
Three Eritreans – Merhawi Kudus, Daniel Teklehaimanot and Natnael Berhane – and Algerian Tour de Langkawi winner Youcef Reguigui make up the rest of the continental contingent.
Experienced internationals Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway, Steve Cummings of Great Britain, Belgium’s Serge Pauwels and USA rider Tyler Farrar complete the full line-up.
The final nine will be chosen after a few European fixtures in the coming month, including the Criterium du Dauphine and Ster ZLM Toer.
As an African team racing to raise awareness for the Qhubeka charity, the team heads to the Tour de France with the goal of putting 5 000 African children on bicycles through the #BicyclesChangeLives campaign.
Team principal Douglas rider said all 23 riders had worked hard to prepare the 11 riders for the world’s biggest cycling event.
“The squad selected is perfect for the event this year and consists of specialist climbers, classics-type riders, time-triallists and riders that can spend hours riding in the breakaways going for stage wins.
“We are about to realise our dream and through this we want to encourage others to follow theirs.”
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