Tomorrow Africa’s team start their first ever grand tour, La Vuelta a Espana.
Boundaries are being broken with an unprecedented 6 grand tour debutantes starting the La Vuelta . As well as in Merhawi Kudus, Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will field the youngest rider in the race.
For each and every Team MTN-Qhubeka rider starting La Vuelta a Espana, it is a case of a dream being realised. The motivation and morale among the entire team is sky high as we prepare to get the ball rolling with tomorrow’s Team Time Trial.
It is a great moment for our team to be at the start of La Vuelta, it is such a big step forward for us. We can do well in this race, it suits us nicely and our climbers will be at home in this race.
I am so happy to here at my home race with our African team. Our team has a lot of young riders, for them it is the first time they are doing such a big race but I’m very confident in our young African guys. They can definitely give me all the support I need to get a top 10 result on GC.
It is a very proud moment for me. A few years back I didn’t think this was possible to be at this level in world cycling. To be the South African champion here at the Vuelta also makes it that much more special. There is a lot of media attention around the jersey which is great for South Africa.
I don’t think I can put my nerves into a sentence, im 28 years old now but im starting my first grand tour and it is a dream that’s come true. As a bike rider, to be here at the Vuelta, I really couldn’t ask for anything more. The support we have got from back home is crazy, I mean if you just look at the road show going around South Africa at the moment we even have our biggest South African rugby stars rallying support for the team and that speaks volumes in itself.
Since the news has come out that we are riding the support from back home has been amazing, and now the time has come to start and still every day we are still getting so many messages of encouragement. This has really been a big motivating factor for me.
Jacques Janse van Rensburg
I have worked hard this year to make it to the Vuelta, after being diagnosed with my illness I have now had my best season in certainly the last 5 years. So obviously I am really happy to here and I am ready to work for Sergio in the mountains but obviously I look forward to taking my chances in a break away as well.
I am really happy to be here at the Vuelta, before I think of any results the most important thing for me is that I am just here at the start. For my country, Eritrea, it is an important time in our history too. The bicycle is really famous back home, and now we have 3 Eritrean’s in this race. Whenever i look at Eritrean media they are always talking about us and the Vuelta, this shows me it is a good opportunity for us but also a difficult one. We have got lots of encouragement though so I look forward to trying to finish this race now that I am here.
I did my first grand tour with GreenEdge but now I am doing it with my home team from Africa so im a really excited and happy to be here. The first time I was here I was very stressed and I think that is normal but now that I have a little experience and I am with my home team I am definitely more motivated than the last time.
This is my first grand tour and I am happy to here. I watched this race many times on t.v as a kid but now I am riding and I want to take in as much experience as possible. This year I have got a lot top 10 results but I took a nice break in the middle of the year so I could prepare specifically for the Vuelta. I am coming here in good shape and ready to work for Gerald 100% and learn as much as I can.