It has been a strong start to 2019 for the Dimension Data for Qhubeka Continental Team with recent highlights being back-to-back wins at Giro del Belvedere and G.P. Palio del Recioto in recent weeks.
In a dominant performance, Samuele Battistella first took the overall honours at Belvedere with teammate Matteo Sobrero claiming 3rd place. One day later, and it was Sobrero on the top step at G.P. Palio del Recioto with Battistella claiming 2nd place to cap a memorable few days for the riders, support staff and our partners. Both events being UCI internationally sanctioned u23 races.
At a national level, the team has 3 more trophies already in the cabinet with victories at GP la Torre (Battistella), the u23 Strade Bianche & Coppa Fiera di Mercatale (Sobrero).
With 11 riders from 7 different nationalities in our team, such results are only possible with a strong team culture. As Kevin Campbell, team manager, explains the development of the culture is focused around cycling and is critical to nurturing talent: “With so many nationalities it can be challenging to create a “universal culture”. What everyone does have in common is a love for cycling, and we harness this passion to build a team culture, one that is built around supporting each other on and off the bike.”
Developing African Talent:
In the last 3 seasons alone, no less than five African riders have graduated to the professional ranks from our feeder team. Stefan de Bod, our latest success story having secured a neo-pro contract with our World\Tour team in 2019, recently made his debut at that level at the Tour of Turkey.
For our African riders, notably the new recruits for the 2019 season, the first part of the season is focused on supporting riders and helping them adapt to European culture and from there taking a more central role in races.
“Development of our African riders is critical to us. It’s not only about the results that are achieved on-bike, but also about how we help riders integrate into the professional racing ethos and adapt to the life in Europe on and off the bike,” says Campbell.
The Continental team have a full race calendar in the coming months, with part of the team currently racing the UCI 2.2 Tour de Bretagne before we head to South Africa, for the UCI 2.2 Tour de Limpopo starting mid-May.
Numerous other European u23 classics and tours then populate their calendar, all the way up to the UCI World Championships in September. The u23 Giro d’Ítalia in June, also being one of the key races for the team this year.
If the first part of the year is anything to go by, the rest of the season is sure looking promising for our feeder team.