MTN Qhubeka boosted by additional sponsorship and first Pro Continental licence
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Thursday, December 6, 2012

MTN Qhubeka boosted by additional sponsorship and first Pro Continental licence

by Shane Stokes at 8:47 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
‘Our dream remains getting to the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and developing an African world champion’

MTN QhubekaBuilding up for what will be its first season at Pro Continental level, Team MTN-Qhubeka has seen both its squad and also a side project bolstered by the signing of a three year deal with Samsung Mobile South Africa.

Comprising a sponsorship worth several million Rand, the electronics company will give financial backing to the team and will also donate a percentage of its sales from Galaxy smartphones and tablets to the Qhubeka World Bicycle Relief programme.

“We are very proud to be able to sponsor Team MTN-Qhubeka, as this is truly the first African cycling team which will be taking part in local and international events, with the dream of participating in the Tour de France in 2014,” stated Craige Fleischer, the Director of Mobile Communications at Samsung South Africa.

“This is an incredible opportunity for Samsung Mobile to support our vision of Built for Africa, as Team MTN-Qhubeka is not only unifying and developing riders across the African continent, but providing the platform to showcase Africa’s talent on a global stage.”

He added that helping the Qhubeka project to develop and provide more bicycles to children was also a plus for it, in terms of giving back, and that it synced with a project it already has in place.

“Through Qhubeka, the sponsorship has really focused on core principles key to Samsung; namely sustainability, youth empowerment, transforming education and healthcare – the work Qhubeka does with giving bicycles to children in return for work done to improve their environment – truly delivers real hope for children and communities alike – which is an extension of our global Hope for Children initiative.”

The team competed at a Continental level in 2012 but is now ready to step up to the Pro Continental stage and to push to race against the sport’s top teams in some events.

The roster has been beefed up as a result and will include riders such as former world under 23 champion Gerald Ciolek, past Giro d’Italia TT winner Ignatus Konovalovas and Tour of Portugal stage victor Jay Thomson.

Of those, Ciolek is particularly experienced and will target the Classics as well as sprint finishes in 2013.

Earlier this month the team secured its UCI Pro Continental licence, marking it the first time an African team will race at this level.

Team Principal Douglas Ryder said that this is part of the squad’s overall goal. “This is an exciting development for African cycling that has been years in the making. We’ve created a professional environment for riders from the continent of Africa,” he said.

“They have access to the best coaching and equipment in the world and they receive the opportunity to showcase their talent against the biggest teams in world cycling.

“Our dream remains getting to the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and developing an African world champion. This news is a step in the right direction.”

Given that it marks another step towards the globalisation of the sport, UCI President Pat McQuaid said that he was ‘extremely pleased’ to see the development. He added that the UCI believe that African cyclists will compete successfully in major world events in the years ahead.

Next year’s team will features six international riders and fifteen African cyclists.

Team MTN – Qhubeka for 2013:

Gerald Ciolek (GER) - Ignatus Konovalovas (LTU) - Sergio Pardilla (SPA) - Jay Thomson (RSA) - Louis Meintjes (RSA) - Johann van Zyl (RSA) - Andreas Stauff (GER) - Martin Reimer (GER) - Youcef Reguigui (ALG) - Kristian Sbaragli (ITA) - Ferekalsi Debesay (ERI) - Tsgabu Grmay (ETH) - Adrien Niyonshuti (RWA) - Meron Russom (ERI) - Jani Tewelde (ERI) - Songezo Jim (RSA) - Bradley Potgieter (RSA) - Dennis van Niekerk (RSA) - Jacques Janse van Rensburg (RSA) - Jaco Venter (RSA) - Martin Wesemann (RSA)


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