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Cavendish heads up Dimension Data's Tour de France long-list

Dimension Data has named a 13-man long-list for its second Tour de France appearance, with Mark Cavendish adding star quality to a line-up that retains a strong African identity.

The South African squad took five African riders to their debut Tour last year and six of the names on the 13-rider list for 2016 come from the continent. Among them is Daniel Teklehaimanot, who wore the polka dot jersey for a spell last year and who once again won the mountains classification at the Critérium du Dauphiné last week.

26-time Tour stage winner Mark Cavendish is expected to be a focal point for the team, and his leadout man Mark Renshaw is also on the list. Fellow former HTC teammates Bernard Eisel and Edvald Boasson Hagen can also slot into a leadout train, with the latter able to seek his own chances on the punchier, more selective finishes. Tyler Farrar is also able to provide assistance in the bunch sprints.

Steve Cummings is on the list and pretty much certain of selection, having earned the team its first ever Tour stage victory last year - on Mandela day - and having soloed to victory three times at WorldTour level already this year.

"We have an incredible squad of riders with lofty goals and big dreams like a year ago. We have new partners and a new look but the same purpose," said team owner Doug Ryder.

Serge Pauwels could well be back after finishing 13th overall last year through prominent displays in the mountains, while Jacques and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg are two more names on the list who represented the team last year.

Natnael Berhane is in line for his Tour de France debut, with South African champion Jaco Venter and Algerian sprinter Youcef Reguigui the other potential debutants on the long-list.

"The team achieved remarkable success so far and we are confident that the group of 13 selected riders will represent our team values and team spirit throughout the 21 days of racing," said head of performance Rolf Aldag. "We are highly motivated and believe that the race holds chances for all of our riders to make a difference, right from day one."

The final nine-rider team will be decided after the upcoming weekend of national championships. 

Dimension Data's 13-rider long-list for the Tour de France: Natnael Berhane, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Mark Cavendish, Steve Cummings, Bernhard Eisel, Tyler Farrar, Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Serge Pauwels, Youcef Reguigui,Mark Renshaw, Daniel Teklehaimanot and Jaco Venter.

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