Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung are set to make history when they become the first African registered cycling team to participate in the Tour de France this year. To be on the start line of Le Tour is a huge step forward for our team and a massive milestone for African cycling. The opportunity comes with great responsibility and MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will take to the Grand Depart with clear objectives and a strong team. 7 African riders and 4 internationals make the MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung Tour de France squad.
With the Tour de France only a month away now, there has been much speculation as to who might make the MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung squad for our African debut appearance at the La Grande Boucle. It is with great pleasure and excitement that we officially announce the 11 rider list from which the final 9 riders will be decided.
As an African team racing to raise awareness for the Qhubeka charity, we head to the Tour de France with the goal of putting 5.000 African children on bicycles through our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign. We are extremely pleased that 7 of the 11 riders on our squad come from Africa with the remaining 4 spots completed by our international riders.
We have 3 South African riders represented. Our South African national road race champion Jacques Janse van Rensburg, the African continental road race champion Louis Meintjes, and our fast finishing Reinardt Janse van Rensburg have all made the selection.
Our Eritrean trio who were all part of Eritrea’s continental team time trial victory this year have all also made the selection. Merhawi Kudus, Daniel Teklehaimanot and Natnael Berhane will each by vying for one of the final 9 starting spots. Our final African rider on the list is the Algerian Tour de Langkawi victor, Youcef Reguigui.
Complementing our 7 African men are the 4 experienced internationals, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Steve Cummings, Serge Pauwels and Tyler Farrar. All 4 men have been an integral part to the development of our African riders and are now ready to help champion our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign cause at the Tour de France.
Over the coming month our team will head to a number of races around Europe, including the Criterium du Dauphine and Ster ZLM Toer, and it is only after these events that the decision will be made as to who the final 9 Tour de France riders will be.
Edvald Boasson Hagen [Norway – profile]
Natnael Berhane [Eritrea – profile]
Steve Cummings [Great Britain – profile]
Tyler Farrar [USA – profile]
Jacques Janse van Rensburg [South Africa – profile]
Reinart Janse van Rensburg [South Africa – profile]
Merhawi Kudus [Eritrea – profile]
Louis Meintjes [South Africa – profile]
Serge Pauwels [Belgium – profile]
Youcef Reguigui [Algeria – profile]
Daniel Teklehaimanot [Eritrea – profile]
Douglas Ryder // MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung – Team Principal
The realisation of the dream of taking an African registered team to the ultimate annual cycling event Le Tour de France is upon us and around the corner. The squad selected is perfect for the event this year consisting of specialist climbers, classics type riders, time trial lists and riders that can spend hours riding in the breakaways going for stage wins. All 23 riders and all staff in the team have worked incredibly hard to get this amazing squad of riders ready for our biggest challenge ever. This is our chance to open the door for African cycling and to race for a greater cause to mobilise 5.000 African students on bicycles. We are about to realize our dream and through this we want to encourage others to follow theirs.
Jens Zemke // MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung – Head Sports Director
We are looking forward to the Tour de France and to make history. It is the first time that an African registered team rolls to the start line of the Grand Boucle and we want to leave a good impression. We have chosen a well rounded team to do so.
Edvald Boasson Hagen // MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung – Rider
I am looking forward to be part of the first African team that takes on the Tour de France. It is nice to be part of “writing” history. We are going to have a strong team, and hopefully we will get some good success. This will be great to raise awareness for Qhubeka.
Jacques Janse van Rensburg // MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung – Rider
For me to be selected and to be in the squad for the Tour de France is a dream come true, and this year a lot of dreams came true for me so far. After years of hard work and dedication I have the South African national stripes on my back as South African Champion, and to have a chance to represent my team and country as well as our cause in the Tour de France is a great honour and the reason why I am riding my bike.
Sarah Phaweni // Qhubeka – Executive Director
We are very proud to see MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung line up in the 2015 Tour de France as the first ever African team to debut in this iconic race. This occasion especially means a lot to us as it provides the cycling community with an opportunity to come together and show their support by funding 5.000 bicycles for African learners through the #BicyclesChangeLives campaign.
Larry Annetts // MTN South Africa – Chief Marketing Officer
The Tour de France wild card entry has made it possible that the MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung team breaks new ground in the sport of cycling by qualifying for an entry into the world’s foremost cycling competition. MTN’s sponsorship has helped MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung become a global brand and to attract international cyclists, as such we have no doubt that the team will do their best, and fly not only South Africa’s flag, but the African flag high at Le Tour de France.
Craige Fleischer // Samsung Electronics South Africa – Director of Integrated Mobility
Samsung has proudly supported MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung for three years on their journey towards the Tour de France. To see these riders become the first team from Africa to compete in the race is testament to the passion, energy and determination of the team. At Samsung, we are committed to supporting Africa’s potential and helping people to realise their dreams. It is a true inspiration to see MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung realise theirs. On behalf of Samsung, I would like to wish the cyclists the very best of success for the road ahead and we look forward to cheering them on to the finish line.
Robert Reijers // Cervélo – Managing Director
Participation in a Grand Tour, particularly the Tour de France is the confirmation that MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung has joined the ranks of the world’s top teams. The riders have shown they are not afraid to show their stripes with true passion for racing, most recently in the Norwegian campaign. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will present an interesting mix of riders, climbers, rouleurs, sprinters in what will likely be the most international roster in the race. Our Cervélo team wishes the team the best of luck during the race and will provide a special type of support to riders and the objective of putting 5.000 african children on bikes. Stay tuned!