The riders and staff of the MTN-Qhubeka team have gathered in Cape Town, South Africa, for the first training camp of the winter as they prepare for their widely expected debut in the WorldTour in 2016.
The team's success during the season and especially at the Tour de France has sparked the arrival of new title sponsor Dimension Data for 2016 plus other important backers such as financial consultants Deloitte, and most recently Sapinda, who will also have their logo on the team’s race clothing. The team will again ride Cervelo bikes.
The African-registered team is widely expected to be given the 18th and final place in the 2016 WorldTour but is keen to retain its African roots and will continue to support African riders. 12 of the 26 riders are from African countries, with Natnael Berhane, Daniel Teklehaimanot, Adrien Niyonshuti, Merhawi Kudus, Songezo Jim again part of the team.
Edvald Boasson Hagen, Tour de France stage winner Steve Cummings and Italian sprinter Kristian Sbaragli, Theo Bos and the USA's Tyler Farrar are again part of the team for 2016.
Mark Cavendish leads the list of new signings, and is joined by Mark Renshaw, Bernhard Eisel, Cameron Meyer, Nathan Haas, Omar Fraile and Kanstantsin Siutsou. Cavendish is hoping to return to his best form and again dominate the sprints. Roger Hammond and Rolf Aldag have joined the technical staff and will work with team manager Doug Ryder and general manager Brian Smith.
Due to sponsorship contracts, the riders will still wear their MTN-Qhubeka clothing during the get together in Cape Town but the team will have a new kit design for 2016 when it will be known as Team Dimension Data.
The team is staying at the Tsogo Sun Cullinan hotel in Cape Town and the camp is the only time the team will all be together during the racing season. They will mix daily training rides with key planning meetings and team activities. Several riders from the team took part in the 202km Coronation Double Century team time trial on Saturday, winning the event by a second.
Cyclingnews will have full coverage from the training camp, with exclusive interviews and reports by Sadhbh O’Shea in Cape Town.