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Nic Dlamini has unfinished business at the Tour de France

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A rider who wants to prove himself, again, in the Tour de France peloton. (Photo: Simon Pocock)
A rider who wants to prove himself, again, in the Tour de France peloton. (Photo: Simon Pocock)

Nicholas Dlamini knows about pain in the peloton. The first black rider to compete at the Tour de France, has lived the world's most famous race. 

With the Tour de France in its final week, Ride24 had the opportunity to chat with Dlamini about Tour experience. A new role at Team Qhubeka. And finding out what is next on his agenda toward a Tour de France return.

"I was the only black rider at the Tour de France. This year, there are none," said Dlamini.

Although Dlamini's journey to the Tour de France was exceptional, it did not produce the fairytale finish many hoped for. He did not complete the race — finishing outside the time limit after a crash left him chasing the climb to Tignes on stage 9. Despite an early exit, Dlamini is determined to ride with the peloton again. 

It has been a dramatic year for Dlamini as his team — the beloved Team Qhubeka — after a funding issue scuttled their Tour de France ambitions. 

Despite obtaining a guaranteed spot in the Union Cycliste Internationale's (UCI) 2022 WorldTour, the failure to secure sufficient sponsorship support barred Africa's only professional cycling team from featuring on the world stage.

"The team has worked hard. Doug Ryder (owner of Team Qhubeka) has worked hard over the years, to make the change, and bring Africans to Europe to race on the highest level."

"It was very disappointing to see that the team was granted the licence because even with that, it's not like they didn't grant the team the licence and give it to another team. There is just basically a spot lost."

"There are about 18 World Tour teams. And out of the 18 teams, there are no black riders or black registered teams. Our team (Team Qhubeka) was the only team that brought that diversity, giving Africans the opportunity to race on the highest level. And now we don't have that anymore and it shows how the sport is going backwards," says Dlamini.

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