11 March 2014
Further evidence of Team MTN-Qhubeka’s growing status was provided on Monday when the South African UCI Professional Continental cycling team was given a wild card invitation to be part of the 78th Tour de Suisse, a World Tour stage race taking place from 14 to 22 June.
The World Tour includes cycling’s Grand Tours, the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana. MTN-Qhubeka’s goal is to earn invitations to the three events.
Hard work paying off
“Our World Tour programme keeps growing and shows the hard work the team put in last year is paying off,” Team Principal Douglas Ryder said in a statement.
“We have had some fantastic results recently in stage races with our African and South African riders and to be able to race in a World Tour stage race as iconic as the Tour de Suisse is huge.
“Many teams use the Tour de Suisse as a final preparation race for the Tour de France, and so for Africa to be a part of this race is just a massive opportunity,” Ryder said.
“Linus Gerdemann will lead the team in this event, a race he has participated in six times previously and where he won his first race as a professional cyclist.”
‘My most favourite race’
Gerdemann is excited to see his new team in his favourite race. “The Tour de Suisse is my most favourite race of all races,” he said. “It is incredibly well organised and races on the most beautiful terrain. It is also where I won my first professional race so it will always be a special race for me.
“Our team is very well suited for this race and we will work hard to do a good result there.”
Last year, Team MTN-Qhubeka recorded the second most wins among Pro Continental teams, with 16 victories. The most high profile of those was Gerald Ciolek’s stunning win in the Milan-San Remo.
They will be joined at the Tour de Suisse by two other wild card teams, the Swiss Professional Continental Team IAM Cycling and the Polish team CCC Polsat Polkowice.