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“I am super happy to have been selected to race La Vuelta, I still can’t really believe it. I think after La Vuelta I will only realise what it actually means."

Photo: Sirotti

DANIEL TEKLEHAIMANOT

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GERALD CIOLEK

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JACOBUS JOHANNES VENTER

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JAY ROBERT THOMSON

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LOUIS MEINTJES

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NTT PRO CYCLING TEAM

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SERGIO PARDILLA

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VUELTA A ESPAÑA

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17.08.2014 @ 10:34 Posted by Andy Pedersen

As the first ever African team MTN-Qhubeka has chosen their squad for the upcoming Vuelta a Espana. The historical selection will contain of six African riders and three riders from Europe. The first ever ProConti African team continues to write history with the participation.

 

And it truly is a happy team, which is going to participate in their first ever Grand Tour on Spanish soil. Team Principal Douglas Ryder thanks Unipublic for the big opportunity.

 

“I must truly thank Unipublic for giving us this opportunity to participate in La Vuelta a Espana this year. It is fitting that Africa’s first ever team to race a Grand Tour starts the one Grand Tour that is closest to the African Continent. I am really proud of this team and how the riders have stepped up in the last 2 years.To have such a great team dynamic in our first Grand Tour with a strong representation from the African Continent shows how far this team has come and how all of our European riders have helped fast-track this team to success."

 

"It was a really tough decision to select the final 9 riders as our team has riders that have so much to offer. Thanks to the management team and the staff who built the team up to this incredible milestone for African Cycling and to our invaluable title sponsor MTN who believed in the dream so many years ago. The recent support from Samsung helped us step up to another level and the Qhubeka Foundation gave us a reason to exist way beyond performances on the bike. Support our team through this journey as another chapter starts,” he states.

 

And former winner of Milano-Sanremo Gerald Ciolek says the climbers of the team will have a good chance in the Vuelta.

 

 “It’s a great thing that we’ll be at the start of La Vuelta, it is a big step forward for our team. I am personally looking forward to it too because I believe our team can perform really well at this race. It is a race that suits our team and especially our climbers can be successful.”

 

African rider Louis Meintjes still can’t believe he is going to ride the Vuelta. According to him he might first realise it after the race.

 

“I am super happy to have been selected to race La Vuelta, I still can’t really believe it. I think after La Vuelta I will only realise what it actually means. My main goal will firstly be to just reach the finish and after that I will definitely look to target 1 or 2 stages for a result. Of course I will help support Sergio for the GC on the mountain stages too.”

 

Another African rider Jay Thomson is very proud to be a part of the Vuelta squad for this team. It is a massive step for African cycling.

 

“This is probably one of the proudest moments in my career to be on the start line of my first grand tour. I just can’t wait to get the ball rolling. Having 4 riders from South Africa is unreal and a total of 6 from Africa to start La Vuelta is something really special. Never before has this been done so it’s a massive step for African cycling.”

 

And with being selected for a Grand Tour follows a role. A role which makes you want to make your fans proud according to Jaco Venter.

 

“I am so happy to have been selected. I must admit, it has been a really stressful few weeks leading up to La Vuelta but I couldn’t be happier and I hope to make the team and all our fans proud.”

 

Kristian Sbaragli will as most of the team make his own personal debut in a Grand Tour, but it doesn’t scare him. He is confident ahead of the race.

 

“I am really happy and proud to be part of the final selection for La Vuelta. It will definitely be a hard race but I am confident I can do well at my first grand tour. I have been preparing for a long time at altitude for La Vuelta so I will be ready.”

 

Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung La Vuelta a Espana Lineup:

 

Sergio Pardilla, Gerald Ciolek, Louis Meintjes, Jay Thomson, Jaco Venter, Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Daniel Teklehaimanot, Merhawi Kudus and Kristian Sbaragli.

 

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