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"We’ve not been confirmed for a grand tour yet but what it’s done is motivated the guys more to prove we’re capable of racing at the top level of the sport and we’re very grateful to be there," Ryder says

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FLECHE WALLONNE

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LIÈGE - BASTOGNE - LIÈGE

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28.02.2014 @ 19:57 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Today Team MTN-Qhubeka took a massive step forward in their quest to become the first African team to do the Tour de France when they were given the recognition from Tour organizers ASO. The team has been selected for both the Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, giving them a prominent role in the Ardennes classics.

 

Team MTN-Qhubeka may have been left disappointed when they missed out on invitations for this year's Giro d'Italia and Tour de France but the team continues to build up an impressive calendar in just their second year of riding at pro continental level. For the first time ever, the team has received invitations for some of the major ASO races as they have been granted wildcards for Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Fleche Wallonne.

 

Last year the team did the Paris-Tours but otherwise the team has not been granted access to the big ASO races. Today's invitations mark a milestone for the team which was celebrated by team principal Douglas Ryder.

 

"ASO today announced our inclusion in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and La Flèche Wallonne," he said. "It’s wonderful to receive this news and now have the biggest WorldTour calendar we’ve ever had. It’s encouraging to see the biggest race organisers continually putting their faith in the team, which is something we’ve been working hard to achieve. Our work ethic is to respect every race we take part in and give it our best and more so with regards to WorldTour races of course.
 
"To line up as Africa’s team on the start line of the 100th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège is especially significant for the sport and something we’ll see the rewards of years from now. There’s some more exciting announcements to come in the coming days which keeps the team motivated. The riders have shown an incredible level of motivation since our training camp in December. It shows so far in the races and we’ve already won in Africa (Gabon), picked up a national title (Louis Meintjes at SA Champs) and have our first European victory (Gerald Ciolek, Ruta Del Sol) under our belts.
 
"We’ve not been confirmed for a grand tour yet but what it’s done is motivated the guys more to prove we’re capable of racing at the top level of the sport and we’re very grateful to be there. Here’s to an exciting few weeks ahead in world cycling. Keep supporting Africa’s team."

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