Overlooked by Giro d’Italia, MTN Qhubeka to push for wildcard in Tour de France or Vuelta a España
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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Overlooked by Giro d’Italia, MTN Qhubeka to push for wildcard in Tour de France or Vuelta a España

by Shane Stokes at 10:12 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
African team clocks up first win of the season on rollercoaster day

Linus GerdemannAwaiting a wildcard which never came, the MTN Qhubeka team learned today that it would miss out on the Giro d’Italia, its big goal for the season.

The Grand Tour is a race that many felt the African team was almost certain to ride. The squad was the winner of last year’s Milan Sanremo with Gerald Ciolek, and strengthened the team over the winter with the signatures of former Tour de France stage winner and yellow jersey Linus Gerdemann, South African climber John Lee Augustyn, the talented Eritrean Daniel Teklehaimanot and others.

Its candidature was seen as being further bolstered by its support from the African continent plus its links to the Qhubeka charity which gives bikes to underprivileged communities. However Giro organisers RCS Sport passed it over.

While the team is deeply disappointed, it remained diplomatic about the decision, preferring to focus instead on trying to get into another Grand Tour. Its reaction also looked at the wildcards it did get, namely invites to Tirreno Adriatico and Milan Sanremo.

“We’d like to thank everyone for supporting us in our efforts to get there. Our supporters have been amazing,” said the team soon after the wildcards were announced.

“Our aim is still to get to a Grand Tour this year and in the meantime we've got a fantastic WorldTour calendar, including Tirreno Adriatico and Milan San Remo and some other major ones we'll announce in the future.”

It congratulated the successful teams, namely the Italian Androni Giocattoli, Bardiani CSF and Yellow Fluo teams plus Team Colombia.

The team has not officially indicated if it will aim to get into the Tour de France, the Vuelta a España or both.

Today has been a rollercoaster day for the team. While morale was dented by the Giro news, it took its first victory of the season when Ferekalsi Debesay won stage three of La Tropicale Amissa Bongo.

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