Pro-Continental team MTN-Qhubeka have been given a late call up to race the Ronde van Vlaanderen for the first time. Despite relying on invitations to the biggest races on the calendar, the African team has now been selected to race at four of the five Monuments with Paris-Roubaix yet to feature in its racing calendar.
The official announcement was made late on Tuesday evening that MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will race the Ronde van Vlaanderen, ensuring they are the first African Pro-Conti team to take part in the race.
Team principal Douglas Ryder was grateful for the invitation, stating that the "Tour of Flanders is the highlight of cycling in Flanders, it is an absolute honour for Team MTN-Qhubeka to be on the start line in the heart of cycling.
"The race has everything from cobbles to climbs, wind and rain, only the strong survive this race to the end and we will be hoping that good fortune shines on us to be in the front at the end."
The 2014 edition of the race takes place on April 6 over a distance of 259km including 17 Hellingen climbs and 6 separate cobble sectors.
Last year's winner of Milan-San Remo, Gerald Ciolek, the team captain stated earlier in the week that his career goals include a stage win in the Tour de France and victory at the Ronde van Vlaanderen. While the team won't be racing the Tour this year but their at this year’s edition of the Ronde gives the German the chance to achieve one of those goals.