After the resounding success of the opening stages of the Tour de France in Yorkshire last year, Yorkshire now has its very own race, the Tour de Yorkshire. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung are happy to be part of the inaugural edition of the race that gets underway tomorrow.
The 3 stage race starts of as a UCI 2.1 level race but the sheer hype and excitement around the race has made it a must do event already in its first year. The nature of the course see’s the opening 2 stages suiting the sprinters while the 3rd and final stage has a number of short climbs ranging between 8-10% gradient that could split the field. A strong sprinter who is able to climb rather well could find himself riding away with the GC victory on Sunday.
The course is one that typically suits our Gerald Ciolek and so naturally the German rider will be our team leader for the upcoming three days in Britain. Steve Cummings and Matt Brammeier will also be looking forward to racing closer to home as they also start for our African team. Completing our line-up will be Andreas Stuaff, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Nic Dougall and hopefully Merhawi Kudus. We are still currently experiencing some 11th hour visa problems with the embassy for Merhawi.
Jens Zemke – Head of Performance
The Tour de Yorkshire is organised by the ASO and already it seems to be quite a big event. We are riding in the same towns that hosted the opening 3 stages of the Tour de France last year and we can all remember the incredible pictures from last year with the massive crowds. We are still struggling with the embassies to sort out some visa issues but hope to get the green light soon.
Our racing strategy will be to ride aggressively and to be visible to all our fans in Britain. With Gerald Ciolek we hope to achieve some good results if the stage is coming to a sprint.