World Cycling Centre to work with riders from MTN Qhubeka team next season
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Monday, November 07, 2011

World Cycling Centre to work with riders from MTN Qhubeka team next season

by VeloNation Press at 5:24 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
South African squad excited about collaboration which will help young riders’ development

Reinard Janse van RensburgHaving already helped Daniel Teklehaimanot to a pro career with the new GreenEdge team, the UCI’s World Cycling Centre will host more riders from Africa next season under a new agreement with the MTN Qhubeka squad.

The collaboration will mark the first time the UCI has worked directly with a Continental team, and will enable the squad to be based in Europe for several months, providing vital coaching and experience.

Several of its competitors have already been World Cycling Centre riders and so they will have experience of what the setup entails. WCC director Frédéric Magné is clear that there will be a benefit for all the riders. “This is the first such collaboration between the WCC and a UCI Continental Team,” he said. “The team signed these young athletes but will send them to us so that they can continue to progress in parallel with their competitions.

“It is their first step in the professional cycling world but we will continue to work with them to perfect their skills and physical condition.”

Having riders based at the WCC should reduce expense for the MTN Qhubeka squad and also will make things a lot simply, logistically. The team launched the 2012 squad at a press conference in Johannesburg last week. It has started working with Jens Zemke, who will fill the road of sports directeur after playing a similar role in HTC Highroad in 2011 and with the Cervélo Test Team in 2009 and 2010. His experience will also be a major boost for the team.

The riders will train at the WCC from April to June and again in August and September, racing with the team at other times.

MTN Qhubeka Team Principal Doug Ryder is upbeat about the team lineup for next season. “We have selected the best talent from the continent of Africa to ride with us,” he said. He has knowledge of the WCC facilities, having sat the riders’ agent exam there last September.

African Continental Cycling Centre manger Jean-Pierre van Zyl previously worked with Teklehaimanot and has seen the benefits of the WCC in developing the career of a rider. He is confident that the team will benefit from the new arrangement.

“The vision we have is one of excellence through development from a grass root level,” he explained. “We are proud and honoured to be part of this collaboration.”

MTN Qhubeka had a solid 2011 season, with its wins including Reinardt Janse van Rensburg’s triumph on stage two of the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, stage wins by Janse van Rensburg, Daryl Impey and Arran Brown in the Tour of Morroc, plus national championship titles by Impey, Lotto Petrus and Adrien Niyonshuti.

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