A successful 18-months riding for the MTN-Qhubeka Feeder Team has seen Nic Dougall secure a contract with the Pro-Continental team from July 1.
"Obviously I'm really excited to be part of the amazing setup that MTN-Qhubeka have provided," the London born 20-year-old South African said. "They've received invites to do some of the biggest races in the world this year like the Tour of Flanders and the Vuelta a España, and to have the opportunity to compete at that level is a dream come true."
With the ambition of racing grand tours and being part of a Tour de France team, Dougall is under no illusions of the work required but explained his desire to success and see his dreams become reality.
"I have wanted to be part of this team for a very long time and I've been prepared to sacrifice in certain areas of my life so yes I think for me it certainly does show that dreams can come true and that if you are prepared to take opportunities when they come you can make anything happen," Dougall said.
"I was extremely lucky to have Jean Pierre, Van Zyl and Andrew Smith at the WCCA Feeder Team to help me progress to this level. Having them to keep me on track, advise me and provide me with opportunities to show what I can do on a bike was invaluable. I am really excited to be part of Team MTN-Qhubeka and look forward to racing with a team that rides to mobilise kids through bicycles – it's a fantastic cause."
Doug Ryder, MTN-Qhubeka’s team principal, explained the joy of seeing Dougall move up to the Pro-Conti team from the Feeder Team.
"To see Nic Dougall graduate from the feeder team to the Pro-Continental team is a wonderful moment for me as it was setup for this reason and we look forward to having more riders coming through in the near future," Ryder said.
"Nic is a well-liked leader both on and off the bike and he made a huge impact to the feeder team and we look forward to seeing him fit in and perform as a member of the Pro-Continental team," Ryder added.
While Dougall has outlined his career goals, he is also keen to learn as much as possible on the bike.
"I think it's really important to have a good relationship with your coach so they can tailor the program to your goals to keep you focused throughout the season. I think the biggest area for me to improve on is going to be the technical skill needed for riding in the bunch at the top level of the sport.
"It's extremely competitive with a lot of pushing and shoving and you have to know how to handle your bike really well so you can stay at the front and save energy. It's something I'm hoping to learn from the older guys on the team like Jay Thomson and Andreas Stauff who are established pro's with a lot of experience."