Ciolek gunning for sprint victories in Volta a Portugal, Pardilla designated GC leader for MTN Qhubeka
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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ciolek gunning for sprint victories in Volta a Portugal, Pardilla designated GC leader for MTN Qhubeka

by VeloNation Press at 8:30 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
South African team also psyched for Tour of Utah

Gerald CiolekMilan Sanremo winner Gerald Ciolek is the MTN Qhubeka’s hope for a sprint stage win in the Volta a Portugal, with the German rider heading the team in that regard. The race, which starts with a five kilometre prologue tomorrow, will also see the riders tackle hillier stages from stage four; the Spaniard Sergio Pardilla has been given backing for that side of the campaign.

“The Volta a Portugal is a great event with tough conditions,” directeur sportif Jens Zemke stated in advance of the event. “This race offers everything cycling is about. Hot weather, amazing mountain stages, fast sprints at beautiful scenery, a team time trial in the capital Lisbon and huge crowd of enthusiastic fans.

“The teams who will be at the start are very strong but our goal is to achieve sportive important results and promote our project.”

Last year the team clocked up two stage wins with Reinardt Janse van Rensburg. He’s since moved on to the Argos Shimano team, but the squad as signed up another stage victor from 2012, Jay Thompson. The South African champion will be part of the squad, alongside Ciolek, Pardilla, Dennis van Niekerk, Ferekalsi Debesay, Ignatas Konovalovas, Jaco Venter, Johann van Zyl and Martin Reimer.

Meanwhile the South African squad will have riders in action in the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, which begins later today.

Janse van Rensburg’s namesake Jacques will be competing there, along with Kristian Sbaragli, Martin Wesemann, Meron Russom, Louis Meintjes, Songezo Jim and Tsgabu Grmay.

The team recently competed in the Tour of Elk Grove. Directeur sportif Kevin Campbell stresses the difference between the two events, and states that Utah is the real goal.

“Utah is a completely different race to Elk Grove. It’s obviously high altitude and will be hotter,” he said. “My expectations are good. Elk Grove was a great way to loosen the legs. Going into Utah it will be interesting to see how the other teams will adapt to the conditions there but I think we can expect exciting things from guys like Tsgabu, Louis and Meron.

“We can expect them to be our best riders with the way they have been training. Kristian is riding well and will definitely be a contender on the flatter stages. It’s a different level of competition and conditions but we’re confident in our GC guys.”

MTN Qhubeka rosters for upcoming races:

Volta a Portugal (Portugal) – (August 7-18 / UCI 2.1):

Dennis van Niekerk (RSA), Ferekalsi Debesay (ERI), Ignatas Konovalovas (LTU), Gerald Ciolek (GER), Jaco Venter (RSA), Jay Thomson (RSA) Johann van Zyl (RSA), Martin Reimer (GER), Sergio Pardilla (ESP)

Tour of Utah (America) – (August 6-11 / UCI 2.1):

Jacques Janse van Rensburg (RSA), Kristian Sbaragli (ITA), Martin Wesemann (RSA) Meron Russom (ERI), Louis Meintjes (RSA), Songezo Jim (RSA), Tsgabu Grmay (ETH)


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