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“We’re not going to take anything for granted when it comes to the Tour de France wildcards with ASO," Brian Smith said. "We could bring the first African team to the Tour and the minimum would be to win a stage.”

Photo: Sirotti






19.10.2014 @ 08:26 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Being one of the most active players at the transfer market, MTN-Qhubeka emphasized their ambitions not only to join the WorldTour ranks in the future, but to continue their mission of supporting a development of the discipline in Africa. With the likes of Edvald Boasson Hagen, Theo Bos, or Tyler Farrar all on board, the South African team aim to mix up in a battle for a 2015 Tour de France wildcard invitations despite having only one three-week event in this year’s Vuelta under their belt.


The MTN-Qhubeka manager, Brian Smith, will appear at the official presentation of the 2015 Tour de France route on Wednesday and believes that despite having a young and inexperienced team at the Grand Tour level, their chances of being granted an invitation are good.  

“We’re not going to take anything for granted when it comes to the Tour de France wildcards with ASO. I don’t know what they’re going to do with the fact that there are probably going to be 17 WorldTour teams. I think it means that they’ll have to look at five spaces. Cofidis will I’m sure be there, Bretagne, IAM, Bora, who rode well this year, and are key for German cycling, are all in the mix as well,” Brian Smith told Cyclingnews.


As it is usually a case for Pro Continental outfits, the South African team will aim to animate an action and target stage victories if granted a highly coveted invitation. Their manager revealed that – after bringing no less than three fast finishers on board including relatively versatile Boasson Hagen – the green jersey might be an ambitious but worth pursuing goal as well.

“We’re going to tell ASO this but we’re not looking at the GC at this stage. I’d like to think that the Green Jersey is an option to target but we’ll certainly be riding for stage wins. We could bring the first African team to the Tour de France and from that the minimum would be to win a stage,” Smith added. 

“We then have the African climbers in the team and we want to give them the opportunity to really show what they can do in the mountains. I believe in the riders we have and the talent. We can light up stages of the Tour and we bring this incredible story to the Tour. We’re putting African kids on bikes and being at the Tour de France would help that immeasurably.” 


Despite making visible efforts to strengthen their roster and transform MTN-Qhubeka into a WorldTour unit, the black and yellow squad remains dedicated to promoting cycling on the African continent.

“We can make history with the team and riders we have if we’re at the Tour de France. You have to remember that there’s also a large percentage of French speaking Africans. They don’t have access to the Tour de France so we’re going to present to ASO a few ideas, for instance a French radio station going to Africa and bringing the race to that African community.”



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