MTN-Qhubeka interim general manager, Brian Smith has confirmed the nationality of his two latest signings. Smith says that both riders have signed on the dotted line, but they will not announce anything until both contracts have been sent to the team’s office in South Africa.
"Of the seven riders they (MTN-Qhubeka) wanted, they gave me four countries that they wanted a name from,” Smith explained to Cyclingnews at the Tour of Britain, where he is commentating for the host broadcaster. "I've got Britain, I've got Australia, I've got America and I've got the Benelux area. So Theo Bos covers the Benelux area. I've got a rider from Australia to cover the Australian side of things, Tyler Farrar covers America and I've got an English guy to cover that side of things."
The Australian is expected to be Matt Goss, who will be leaving his current Orica-GreenEdge team at the end of the season. BMC's Stephen Cummings - who finished third in the penultimate time trial at the Tour of Britain - has also been heavily linked with the team and is expected to be part of the announcement due next week.
Smith was appointed as the interim general manager for the South African team and was tasked with selecting the Vuelta a España squad, bringing on some big name riders and appointing a full-time general manager. He was given a quota of eight riders to sign, although the team already had their sights set on former MTN rider Reinardt Janse van Rensburg – who currently rides for Giant-Shimano. Smith has already signed Tyler Farrar, Theo Bos and Edvald Boasson Hagen, but he is adamant that he’s not trying to build a sprint train.
"Theo Bos is our only bunch sprinter. Boasson Hagen, Farrar and the other rider that we haven't confirmed yet they are not bunch sprinters," says Smith. "For me, I don't want a lead out, it's about racing. A lot of these guys aren't bunch sprinters. The thing missing from them is that they've been put in a job that they don't like and they're lacking motivation. MTN-Qhubeka is bringing in people to rejuvenate them, and help them to get back to where they were by allowing them to do what they want to do."
With Goss and Cummings expected to be announced in the coming week, it leaves two more spots in the roster. Smith says that both places have been filled by WorldTour riders, but couldn't confirm any names. The team are currently talking to potential sponsors, which may allow them to bring on another rider in addition to the eight places that were opened up. Smith went on to say that Boasson Hagen may be joined by joined by another Norwegian in the team.
"I've been talking to Thor Hushovd for the last couple of months and trying to get him to stop his retirement and go for Roubaix for the last time," Smith said to Cyclingnews. "He said to me that he wouldn't, but I think that he might be in the car watching his Norwegian friend win a classic next year. Maybe not as a directeur, but more of a consultant."