Historic TDF win for MTN-Qhubeka on Nelson Mandela Day | SASCOC - SASCOC
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Historic TDF win for MTN-Qhubeka on Nelson Mandela Day

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By Mark Etheridge

Africa’s first team at the Tour de France, MTN-Qhubeka gave South Africa huge reason to smile on Nelson Mandela Day as he won the 14th stage Rodez and Mende on Saturday.
It was Team Principal Douglas Ryder’s big dream to win a stage of the tour and it came true in spectacular finish as Britain’s Steve Cummings outsprinted the field after a breakaway situation.
The Cheshire rider, who like the MTN-Qhubeka side wore special orange helmets in honour of Madiba, was overcome by emotion afterwards as the field finished on an airfield.
‘I knew I wasn’t the strongest climber, there were better climbers but I was just waiting in the last 10km for an opportunity.
‘I took advantage of other teams watching each other. This is the Tour de France, a lot of people, they went bananas at the bottom of the climb but I kept my calm … and time trialled a bit.
‘I knew some of the guys were a bit cautious on the corners so I threw caution to the wind and got a gap… At the end sprint I was pretty confident the climbers wouldn’t catch me at the end.
‘As a kid I dreamt of winning a stage from a big breakaway.. my whole career I wanted to do this. I love watching breakaways in a Grand Tour,’ said the 2004 Athens Olympic team pursuit silver medallist for Britain.
After this win on one of South Africa’s most special and emotional holidays, the rainbow nation will think they’re also dreaming!


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