The Team Qhubeka development squad will continue to race in 2022 despite continued uncertainty over the WorldTour Qhubeka-NextHash team. The news over the future of the Continental team was confirmed by the management on Saturday evening after Cyclilngnews had learned that the team were in the process of filling spots on the roster for next season.
The news comes as a welcome relief for the organisation with time running out for team boss Doug Ryder to save the WorldTour entity with a major title sponsor still needed.
The development team has acted as a huge stepping stone for young riders, especially from Africa. The riders have used the platform to race internationally and step up to the WorldTour ranks with a number of successes over the years.
Henok Mulubrhan is the latest sensation to come through the ranks with the 21-year-old signing a two-year deal with the WorldTour team should they continue next season. Other riders who have come through the programme at the U23 level include Ryan Gibbons, Keagen Girdlestone, Stefan de Bod, Connor Brown, Mulu Kinfe Hailemichael, Alexander Konychev, Matteo Sobrero, and Samuele Battistella.
The team have yet to release a full statement confirming the news that the Continental team will continue but in a text message sent to Cyclingnews a spokesperson for the team confirmed the rumours, stating that, ‘yes the Continental team will continue next season.’
Meanwhile, the search for a major WorldTour sponsor continues. According to reports in the Dutch media, there are three potential suitors but the team has to submit their paperwork relating to their WorldTour license to the UCI by November 15.
According to reports BMC, Assos, and Mercedes are willing to continue with the team but the management are still short of a title sponsor.
The team have also lost a significant amount of talent in the off-season with rival squads picking off their best riders while uncertainty surrounds the organisation’s future. Star sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo has jumped ship to Chris Froome’s Israel Start-Up Nation, while Michael Gogl has signed for Alpecin Fenix. Meanwhile, Victor Campenaerts has returned to Lotto Soudal and both Fabio Aru and Matteo Pelucchi have retired.
“We’re still looking for solutions and if we had something to tell then you’d know by now. It’s still a work in progress,” team director Lars Michaelson told Cyclingnews from his home in Demark earlier this month.
“There are good leads, and good talks, but it’s not like ordering a cake and going to pick it up at the baker. Things take time, they’re not just delivered and unfortunately, we’re fighting with time.”
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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