Fantastic! So proud of these guys! TdF is going to be even more exciting this year with our very own African team in the mix\U0001f600
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South African trio named in team to tackle Tour de France
- Updated: June 23, 2015
Three South Africans are included in the final nine-man MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung team to take on the iconic Tour de France cycling classic next month.
African champion Louis Meintjes, South African champion Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg make up the South African slice of the first African team to take part in the Tour.
Two other African riders made the cut, the Eritrean duo of Merhawi Kudus and Daniel Teklehaimanot.
They’ll be joined by Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen, Britain’s Steve Cumming, American Tyler Farrar and Belgian rider Serge Pauwels.
The final team was whittled down from an 11-strong list announced on 2 June. The team’s performance at the recent Criterium du Dauphine saw team management getting the feedback to make their final decision.
Said general manager Brian Smith: ‘We have chosen the best team suited to hit our team goals. Performance goals include a stage win and wearing a competition jersey. We will not go to the Tour with a dedicated Sprint or GC train, but look to take opportunities in most stages as demonstrated in the Dauphine. We will not sit back and be counted. Tyler will be our captain on the road and work with Edvald and Reinardt towards the flatter stages. Steve will concentrate on the Prologue initially and look at stage opportunities in rolling terrain. We then have a climbing group consisting of Louis, Merhawi, Jacques, Daniel and Serge. This group is an unknown and an exciting prospect. With Serge’s guidance we plan to feature in the high mountains. We will be taking nothing for granted and will make sure we make our own opportunities and take them when we can.’
The team’s Head of Performance Support and medical, Dr Carol Austin, added: ‘Preparations are on-track; we expect each rider to perform at their best in July. Most rider’s “ideal” preparation plan has been realised. I’m extremely grateful to the World Tour event organisers who have provided us with the race opportunities critical to performance in the Tour. Where medical illness and injury have interrupted our plans, my medical team and coaches have worked creatively to overcome the challenges.
‘Over the past four weeks we’ve been fine tuning our athletes’ form through training camps in the French Alps and Italy. We’ve taken our sports science preparations to a new level for the Tour, and will use this opportunity to further extend our insights and knowledge.
‘We look forward to realising our Tour de France dreams, and starting a new chapter for African cycling.’