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Lasse Norman Hansen and Matteo Pelucchi sign with Qhubeka Assos

Lasse Norman Hansen
Lasse Norman Hansen (Image credit: Getty Images)

NTT Pro Cycling – who will race as Qhubeka Assos in 2021 – continue to add to their roster for next season, and have signed fastmen Lasse Norman Hansen and Matteo Pelucchi to support European road race champion Giacomo Nizzolo in the sprints in 2021. The team also offered a contract extension to Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, which will see him ride his 10th season for the team.

"These are three signings who are going to continue to add to the depth and strength of our squad and ultimately provide crucial support to our aspirations for next season," said head sports director Lars Michaelsen in a team press release.

Hansen continues to combine the road with the track, and joins Qhubeka Assos from Alpecin-Fenix, where he has spent the last two seasons, but only competed on the road in February this year before the season shutdown due to COVID-19. Hansen’s past road victories include a stage at the 2018 Herald Sun Tour, two stages on home ground at the PostNord Danmark Rundt – in 2018 and 2019 – and a stage at the Tour of Alberta in 2015.

On the track, the Danish rider won gold in the men's omnium at the 2012 Olympic Games, and took bronze in the team pursuit and the omnium at the 2016 Olympics. In 2019, Hansen was Madison European champion, alongside compatriot Michael Mørkøv (Deceuninck-QuickStep), and was part of the Danish team pursuit squad that won the European title.

This year, he was part of the Danish squad that won the team pursuit at the World Championships in Berlin, Germany, breaking the world record along the way, and he became world champion in the Madison alongside Mørkøv. In 2021, Hansen will again combine with Mørkøv for the Madison at the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games.

"I'm thrilled to join the team and I'm really looking forward to the new season," Hansen said. "I'm excited about the role that I'll be playing, and to see us hopefully score many successes, while also having the opportunity to represent my country, but also the team, at the Tokyo Olympic Games is going to be very special. I've heard about the family environment here, and so now to also be part of the Qhubeka family is humbling and inspiring."

Pelucchi joins the team from Bardiani-CSF with career highlights that include stage wins at the Tour of Poland, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Langkawi.

"The team Qhubeka Assos project is one that I strongly believe in, and to now join the team for next season is fantastic," said Pelucchi.

"I've known Giacomo since childhood, so I can't wait to work with not only a good friend but also one of the best riders in the bunch. He had a pretty good 2020 before he had to stop due to injury, so I'm looking to contribute to even greater success next season."

Janse van Rensburg is the longest standing member of the team, having joined the roster under the MTN Energade name in 2010, only leaving for a brief two seasons at Giant-Shimano. He has been a valuable asset to the team in its versions as MTN Qhubeka, Team Dimension Data and this year as NTT Pro Cycling.

He was the South African national champion on the road in 2017 and won the Tour de Langkawi in 2016, as well as winning stages at the Volta a Portugal and at the Herald Sun Tour. He has competed in five Tours de France, and hopes to line up for a sixth time in 2021.

"I am extremely happy to be continuing my journey with the team. I have been with the team for the majority of my career, and been a part of the various chapters of the journey. I'm thrilled now to be part of writing another new chapter as we ride as Team Qhubeka Assos," Janse van Rensburg said.

"I am also humbled to be representing the Qhubeka charity, who are now in our team title. As a South African, the greater purpose that we ride for is something very special to me and my family, and to reiterate the message of being able to mobilise people with the power of a bicycle is a great honour," he said.