Making History: Eritrean Trio Vying for Tour de France

three Eritrean riders vying for one of MTN_Qhubeka's Tour de France squad
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung today officially shortlisted 11 riders (including 3 Eritreans namely – Natnael Berhane, Merhawi Kudus and Daniel Teklehaimanot) from which only the final 9 will participate in the Tour de France this year. Nice to be part of “writing” history.

By MTN-Qhubeka,

TEAM MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung are set to make history when they become the first African registered cycling team to participate in the Tour de France this year. To be on the start line of Le Tour is a huge step forward for our team and a massive milestone for African cycling.

The opportunity comes with great responsibility and MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will take to the Grand Depart with clear objectives and a strong team. Seven African riders and four internationals make the MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung Tour de France squad. 

With the Tour de France only a month away now, there has been much speculation as to who might make the MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung squad for our African debut appearance at the La Grande Boucle. It is with great pleasure and excitement that we officially announce the 11 rider list from which the final 9 riders will be decided.

As an African team racing to raise awareness for the Qhubeka charity, we head to the Tour de France with the goal of putting 5.000 African children on bicycles through our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign. We are extremely pleased that 7 of the 11 riders on our squad come from Africa with the remaining 4 spots completed by our international riders.

We have 3 South African riders represented. Our South African national road race champion Jacques Janse van Rensburg, the African continental road race champion Louis Meintjes, and our fast finishing Reinardt Janse van Rensburg have all made the selection.

Our Eritrean trio who were all part of Eritrea’s continental team time trial victory this year have all also made the selection. Merhawi Kudus, Daniel Teklehaimanot and Natnael Berhane will each by vying for one of the final 9 starting spots. Our final African rider on the list is the Algerian Tour de Langkawi victor, Youcef Reguigui.

Complementing our 7 African men are the 4 experienced internationals, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Steve Cummings, Serge Pauwels and Tyler Farrar. All 4 men have been an integral part to the development of our African riders and are now ready to help champion our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign cause at the Tour de France.

Over the coming month our team will head to a number of races around Europe, including the Criterium du Dauphine and Ster ZLM Toer, and it is only after these events that the decision will be made as to who the final 9 Tour de France riders will be.

SHORTLISTED RIDERS

Edvald Boasson Hagen [Norway – profile]
Natnael Berhane [Eritreaprofile]
Steve Cummings [Great Britain – profile]
Tyler Farrar [USA – profile]
Jacques Janse van Rensburg [South Africa – profile]
Reinart Janse van Rensburg [South Africa – profile]
Merhawi Kudus [Eritreaprofile]
Louis Meintjes [South Africa – profile]
Serge Pauwels [Belgium – profile]
Youcef Reguigui [Algeria – profile]
Daniel Teklehaimanot [Eritreaprofile]

QUOTES

Douglas Ryder // MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung – Team Principal

The realisation of the dream of taking an African registered team to the ultimate annual cycling event Le Tour de France is upon us and around the corner. The squad selected is perfect for the event this year consisting of specialist climbers, classics type riders, time trial lists and riders that can spend hours riding in the breakaways going for stage wins. All 23 riders and all staff in the team have worked incredibly hard to get this amazing squad of riders ready for our biggest challenge ever. This is our chance to open the door for African cycling and to race for a greater cause to mobilise 5.000 African students on bicycles. We are about to realize our dream and through this we want to encourage others to follow theirs.