African team impresses at Tour de France

27 July 2015

Team MTN-Qhubeka, the first Africa-based trade team to take part in the Tour de France, has finished fifth at the end of the gruelling three-week race. While Kenyan-born Englishman Chris Froome was the overall winner for his Team Sky, Team MTN-Qhubeka’s Edvald Boasson Hagen sprinted to grab fourth place in the final stage along Paris’s Champs Elysees. Serge Pauwels was the best overall rider for Team MTN-Qhubeka, finishing 13th overall.

The team’s maiden tour was an outstanding one; they impressed with top 10 placings in 14 stages, including seven top five finishes and a memorable stage win – appropriately on Mandela Day – by Steve Cummings, through one of several gruelling mountain stages. Fellow team rider Daniel Teklehaimanot from Eritrea became the first African to wear the polka dot King of the Mountain jersey during stages six to nine.

At the finish, Team MTN-Qhubeka thanked all their fans from Africa and across the world for the support. “We would dearly love to thank everyone: fans, media, fellow competitors, the ASO [Amaury Sport Organisation] and all of our partners for the amazing support we have received over these last three weeks. You were all a part of history,” a team representative told EWN yesterday at the finish in Paris.

Team MTN-Qhubeka went professional as a continental team in 2008, and features riders from Africa, Europe and Australia, as well eight of South Africa’s best competitive cyclists. The team have spent the last few years promoting cycling throughout Africa, with several impressive performances in races in Rwanda, Namibia and South Africa. They have also participated in the Tour de Korea and Britain in 2013 in preparation for their first Tour de France.

The riders are also actively involved in promoting the #BicyclesChangeLives, an initiative to provide bicycles to students across Africa, giving them the opportunity for better access to education and to create their own path in life.

SAinfo reporter