Cape Town - Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka has announced its squad for the 104th edition of the Tour de France.
The race starts on Saturday, July 1 in Dusseldorf and ends on Sunday, July 23 in Paris.
It will be the third participation for the African team at the La Grande Boucle and the team return to the race with the same goals as in previous years, changing lives in Africa through our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign, to win stages and be visible in the racing.
It has been a difficult road to the Tour for Mark Cavendish following the serious illness that kept him out of action for the majority of the season. Team Dimension Data has been committed to giving him the necessary support and time required to allow him every opportunity to make the team, and are therefore delighted to announce his inclusion.
Also coming from a long road to recovery, and fresh off the back of his double victory at the British National Championships, Steve Cummings will make his third successive appearance at the Tour de France for the team. Remembering his historical stage win on Mandela Day in 2015, followed up by his emphatic stage victory last year, it is most satisfying to have Cummings back at the Tour.
Team Dimension Data will also have the South African national jersey represented at the Tour de France with Reinardt Janse van Rensburg set for his third successive Tour start.
Jaco Venter and Scott Thwaites will make their debut appearances, while the team will be completed by the experienced quartet of Edvald Boasson Hagen, Bernhard Eisel, Mark Renshaw and Serge Pauwels.
With a race strategy that served them well in both 2015 and 2016, Team Dimension Data will once again target specific stages with individual riders during the 2017 edition of the race. Riding from the front, searching for breakaway's and looking to wear a leaders jersey will also bring further awareness to our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign.
Team Dimension Data are confident the nine riders selected will make an impact that matters on the African continent over the next three weeks.
Mark Cavendish said: As has been widely reported,
it’s been a difficult few months for me on the back of the illness that set me
back earlier on in the season. Despite this setback and my lack of race time
I’ve worked incredibly hard both to ensure I could firstly recover from the
illness as well as then aiming to build my fitness up as much as possible in
order to start the Tour.
If I am being totally honest, had this not been the Tour de France we may have collectively taken a different approach with regards to my inclusion but I feel that I owe it to myself, the team, our sponsors and most importantly to the Tour itself given its history and everything that it stands for - as well as the emotional attachment I have for it - to give it my best and to put everything I have in to trying to help the team.
In addition, I also feel a great sense of pride to be supporting Qhubeka and our Bicycles Change Lives campaign, and am keen to raise as much awareness as possible for what is such an incredible cause at the Tour.
Douglas Ryder – Team Principal, added: This team was built on a dream and to be in our third Tour de France is so special as we chase more dreams with every single rider that will represent this team and what it stands for on July 1.
Our two debutants, Jaco and Scott, will have their eyes wide open as they experience the enormousness of The Tour de France and what a privilege to do that with the incredible experience of the rest of the team.
The hard work that has been put in by the riders and our team partners to be ready to represent Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka in this year’s event is truly incredible and shows their commitment to the sport of cycling and the impact they can make on others. Join us through our campaign as we make a noise for Qhubeka in July.