South African team to seek Professional Continental status in 2013
MTN-Qhubeka plans to be the first African team in the Tour de France. Sponsor MTN has said it will pursue “the African dream,” whilst the South African team announced it will register as a Professional Continental team next year.
“As proud sponsors of Team MTN-Qhubeka, we are pleased to announce our pursuit of the African dream to get the first African cycling team, with predominately African riders to race in the Tour de France,” said Serame Taukobong, Chief Marketing Officer of MTN SA, in a press release. “This dream has the potential of unlocking vast opportunities for cycling in South Africa and in the entire continent.”
“To register Africa’s first UCI Professional Continental Team is great for the riders on our team who have worked so hard in building their performance to this higher level of racing which shows in their results over the last 12 months,” said Team Principal Doug Ryder.
“The plan is to race a dual program in 2013, one in Europe and the other in events that span the other continents, with the intention of raising the awareness of cycling on the African continent and how, through Qhubeka and World Bicycle Relief, we are mobilising change one bike at a time in Africa.”
The team has 22 wins so far this season, both in Africa and Europe. South African Janse Van Rensburg has 14 of those wins, including the national time trial title and the 1.1 ranked Ronde van Zeeland Seaports earlier this month.
Anthony Fitzhenry, founder of Qhubeka, said, “We are thankful to MTN for their support of the team and Qhubeka, and we will put all our efforts and resources into helping the team to continue to achieve their impressive goals, including an African Tour de France team and mobilising many more children on bicycles throughout Africa,” he says.
MTN, based in South Africa, is a multinational telecommunications group operating in 21 countries throughout Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Qhubeka, which means ‘to move forward’, is a Corporate Social Investment project which aims to help rural communities advance their lives by providing bicycles to children in return for work done to improve their environment and communities.