|Edvald BOASSON HAGEN||Stephen CUMMINGS||Louis MEINTJES||Tyler FARRAR||Serge PAUWELS||J. JANSE VAN RENSBURG||Daniel TEKLEHAIMANOT||R. JANSE VAN RENSBURG||M. KUDUS GHEBREMEDHIN|
Africa arrives for Le Tour 2015 in a similar way to Colombia in 1983! In an argument for historians and geographers, who could be said to be the first African stage winner on Le Tour? Perhaps Marcel Molinès, from Alger and a member of the North African French team, winner at Nimes on the 13th stage in 1950, or Robert Hunter, a South African, and first to finish in Montpellier on the 11th stage in 2007, both white… The first African wearer of the Yellow Jersey, Daryl Impey, also a white South African, was followed two days later by Chris Froome, born in Kenya (in Nairobi) but a holder of British citizenship, in 2013. Hunter, Impey and Froome all previously rode for the Barloworld team, which was backed by a sponsor from Johannesburg but registered in Great Britain and managed by Italians.
MTN-Qhubeka is therefore the first genuinely African team invited to participate in the Tour de France. Rooted in South Africa since its creation in 1997 by Douglas Ryder, a professional cyclist until 2002 and still the manager of a team sponsored since 2007 by the telecoms operator present throughout the African continent, Qhubeka (a word that means “advance” in the Xhosa language) is a foundation that provides bicycles as a means of transport to underprivileged populations. It is a team with a strong identity and humanitarian calling that is set to write a fine page in the grand international history of the Tour de France. In its ranks, it boasts Eritrean Daniel Teklehaimanot, the best climber on this year’s Critérium du Dauphiné, and his countryman Merhawi Kudus, who completed the Vuelta at the age of 20 years. The toughest runners on the planet come from this part of the world. Now it is cycling’s turn to be enhanced by these exceptional athletes.
7: the number of African riders in the initial selection of eleven for the Tour de France 2015.
16th September 2012: at the World Championships at Valkenburg (in the Netherlands), Douglas Ryder announces the promotion of his MTN-Qhubeka team to the pro-continental category with the aim of taking part in the Tour de France from 2015.
17th March 2013: to general surprise, the MTN-Qhubeka team, invited by the organisers, wins the Milan-San Remo classic, disrupted by excruciatingly poor weather, thanks to Gerald Ciolek.
23rd August 2014: MTN-Qhubeka starts its first Grand Tour and every one of its riders finishes the event, including the youngest, Eritrean Merhawi Kudus, only 20 years old!