Gerdemann, Augustyn back to the pro peloton in La Tropicale Amissa Bongo
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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Gerdemann, Augustyn back to the pro peloton in La Tropicale Amissa Bongo

by Shane Stokes at 11:53 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
MTN Qhubeka riders named for 2.1 ranked African event

Linus GerdemannLinus Gerdemann and John Lee Augustyn will next week begin their buildup back to what they hope will be successful returns to the peloton this year, with both riders confirmed today as part of MTN Qhubeka’s team for the La Tropicale Amissa Bongo race in Gabon.

The duo – who have both been out of the professional peloton for more than a year – have trained hard in advance of the season. Also on the comeback trail is Rwandan rider Adrien Niyonshuti, who sat out most of last year due to a thrombosis, but who was able to return to competition in the Tour of Rwanda in November.

He is also aiming to get back up to speed and the Tropicale Amissa Bongo event is the next step in his buildup.

“It is fantastic that the return of Linus Gerdemann and John-Lee Augustyn to racing will happen in an African race on an African team,” said the team principal Douglas Ryder. “Both riders are exceptional talents that have big roles to play in Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung this year and into the future for African cycling.

“I know they cannot wait to pin numbers on their new team jerseys in 2014 and get back in the peloton. They are both really happy to be back.”

Augustyn had a hip problem which required a resurfacing operation; after this, he developed complications and had to put his career on hold in 2012.

Things improved and he was able to do some racing in Africa last year. He’s now ready to get back to the pro peloton and is reportedly in very good condition.

Also coming back is Gerdemann, who took a year out after he was left without a contract for 2013. He is a former stage winner and yellow jersey wearer in the Tour de France, and has said that he is pleased with the work he has done up to this point.

The team will also include Songezo Jim, who was a fine fourth overall last year, Ferekalsi Debesay and the sprinter Youcef Reguigui.

The race takes place from January 13th to 19th.

“It is fantastic to be able to end our season in Rwanda and start 2014 in Gabon,” said Ryder. “We are a proudly South African and African team and it is important for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung to race as much as feasibly possible in African races.

“Our participation also adds to the profile of the events we participate in in Africa and this year’s Tour of Amissa Bongo has the best field ever for an African race which is wonderful for cycling on the African continent.”

MTN Qhubeka for La Tropicale Amissa Bongo, Gabon, Jan 13th to 19th (UCI 2.1):

Adrien Niyonshuti (RWA)
Ferekalsi Debesay (ERI)
John-Lee Augustyn (RSA)
Linus Gerdemann (GER)
Songezo Jim (RSA)
Youcef Reguigui (ALG)


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