The time has come and Team MTN-Qhubeka have arrived at the biggest stage in world cycling. Africa’s first ever cycling team to participate in a grand tour was presented at La Vuelta a Espana team presentation this evening in Jerez, Spain. Starting with a team trial tomorrow evening, Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will have its 6 African and 3 European riders make history as they embark on a 23 day journey that will give birth to so many new dreams in the minds of young African’s everywhere.
The 10 years of hard work and sacrifice it has taking to get to this point can now be enjoyed. Now that Africa’s team have arrived, the story will not stop here though. Big bold goals have been set as Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung look to stake their claim and cement Africa’s place in world cycling.
Our 9 riders taking part in the 69th La Vuelta a Espana were revealed earlier in the week and have all had the perfect final weeks build up. The team are ready to take on their most important appointment to date and they will do so with one goal!
Director Sportif – Jens Zemke
If we have one goal for the Vuelta it will be to ride in such a way that we are very visible and we need to stay in the minds of the spectators so they can understand who we are and what our team is about. We need them to say MTN, yes they did a great job. We don’t have somebody that can win the Vuelta so we have to take every little opportunity that comes our way. That can be looking for a stage result, maybe taking a jersey, looking for a good GC spot, going in all the breaks, everything. We really have to go for everything.
The first week will be very important and dangerous. It is the only stages for the real sprinters and everybody is fresh and in a good shape so they will all fight for a good result. I also i know that the region we are in, the wind will play a big role in the first week and so all the GC riders will be fighting for a good position along with the sprinters and it will be super nervous.
Gerald is our clear leader for the sprints. He has proven he can win the big races and he also has a stage win in the Vuelta in his palmares. The other thing is we also don’t have a lead out like the other teams but for us the thing is to deliver Gerald onto a good wheel and this we have to do well by being prepared. We will not have many chances so we have to get this right pretty soon.
As far as the GC goes, Sergio is our rider that can possibly do something and the younger riders like Louis and Merhawi know what their role is. It is too early for these young guys to fight for every second over 3 weeks but they will certainly get their chance when we say yes, today is your day and you can go for it.
Racing starts with the team time trial on Saturday evening and the entire tour will be broadcast on Supersport, screening daily from 16:00 in the afternoon. Racing occurs everyday except for 1st and 9th of September which are rest days.
Stage Profile Overview