Team Qhubeka ASSOS is delighted to confirm the roster for its UCI Continental feeder team, which will race under the name of Team Qhubeka in 2021.
Team Qhubeka is the continuation of the NTT Continental Cycling Team, one of the most successful u23 development programs in world cycling, and the only with a core focus on developing u23 talent from Africa.
The 2020 season was an extremely difficult year for the u23 category, as Covid-19 massively disrupted the race calendar. There were only 23 UCI race days in the season and key events such as the Tour de l’Avenir and the u23 UCI Road World Championships were both cancelled.
Despite the challenges faced in 2020, it was essential that we continued to focus on the development of our continental team and support our riders through the pandemic.
We managed this by structuring four goal specific training camps during the year, two of which ran alongside our UCI WorldTour team in Spain and Italy respectively, to supplement their reduced racing calendar and we still saw wonderful growth in our riders through the year.
We are proud that three riders will make the step-up into professional ranks in 2021: Connor Brown will join Team Qhubeka ASSOS while Natnael Tesfatsion and Leonardo Marchiori both head to Androni Giocattoli. Their progression allows us to continue the cycle of bringing new African talent onto the international cycling scene, with our team taking on its 6th successive season in Europe in 2021.
Marc Pritzen (South Africa), Henok Mulueberhan (Eritrea), Negasi Abreha (Ethiopia), Mattia Guasco (Italy) and 2019 Zwift Academy winner, Drew Christensen (New Zealand) will all begin their second season with us next year.
We are thrilled to welcome the new additions to our squad in Ghebrehiwet Birhane (Eritrea), Renus Uhiriwe (Rwanda) and the Italian trio of Antonio Puppio, Kevin Bonaldo and Luca Coati.
The 2021 performance team behind Team Qhubeka has Douglas Ryder (South Africa) as Team Principal, Kevin Campbell (South Africa) Team Manager, Daniele Nieri (Italy) Sport Director and Kyle Basson (South Africa) coach.
Kevin Campbell – Team Manager
This challenging year has shown us that nothing in cycling can be taken for granted. We must make full use of every opportunity that comes our way and prepare our team to perform at their best in every event.
We have signed 2 new African riders to our team that are relatively unknown outside of their home countries, but we are confident that they have the talent and will do the work required to perform well in Europe.
Our Italian contingent of cyclists is as exciting as ever and I’m sure they’ll lead by example and earn results worthy of their potential.
We are confident that the 10 riders on our team will perform well together.
Douglas Ryder – Team Principal
Our UCI continental feeder team has done another incredible job in providing opportunity to u23 riders, after what was an insanely challenging year. This team forms the foundation of what we aim to achieve, in providing a pathway into professional cycling for African cyclists.
Nearly 60 African riders have come through our system now, and to see the likes of Daryl Impey, Merhawi Kudus, Ryan Gibbons and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier flourishing as professional’s makes us all very proud.
To be able to race as Team Qhubeka in 2021, with Qhubeka meaning “To Progress”, is as humbling as it is satisfying, knowing we can effect positive change in the lives of young African cyclists.