Video: Pauwels targets Tour de France start

Belgian discusses his goals for first season with MTN-Qhubeka

Serge Pauwels has big ambitions for his first season at the MTN-Qhubeka team. The South African team are targeting their first appearance at the Tour de France this summer and he hopes to be one of the nine men selected. Pauwels' lone outing at the Tour to date came back in 2010, as part of Team Sky’s debut in the race, and he found it hard to find a spot in subsequent years.

“I had a great time with Omega Pharma-QuickStep but it wasn’t always easy to get into the biggest races. The Tour de France is still a race I would really love to ride one day. I think within MTN-Qhubeka that I might have a chance to get into the Tour de France,” Pauwels told Cyclingnews. “It would be really nice to go for a stage win as a team and be part of the team there.”

Pauwels was one of eight riders brought in last season as the team look to boost their chances of a Tour wildcard. The 31-year-old Belgian brings the experience of nine seasons as a professional cyclist, including a stint at MTN-Qhubeka General manager Brian Smith’s former project, Cervélo TestTeam. Pauwels has spent the last five years at WorldTour level with Team Sky and Omega Pharma-QuickStep, and sees imparting his knowledge on the younger riders as an important part of his role at MTN-Qhubeka.

“As a professional cyclist I’ve known how tough it is and how long it takes to learn everything on your own,” said Pauwels. “I’m really happy to be part of the team and to share my experience with guys like Louis Meintjes and Merhawi Kudus. They’re also keen to learn from guys who come from a ProTour level. I think that if this can help them then I’m happy.”

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