Africa arrived at the 2015 Tour like Colombia in 1983! Historians and geographers still debate who was the first African stage winner —Marcel Molinès, hailing from Algiers and a member of the North African French team, who won in Nîmes in 1950 (stage 13), or South African Robert Hunter, who finished first in Montpellier in 2007 (stage 11). In 2013, the first African wearer of the yellow jersey, South African Daryl Impey, was followed two days later by Chris Froome, who was born in Nairobi (Kenya) but later obtained British citizenship. Hunter, Impey and Froome all previously rode for the Barloworld team, which was backed by a sponsor from Johannesburg but registered in the United Kingdom and managed by Italians.
MTN-Qhubeka became the first genuinely African team invited to participate in the Tour de France in 2015. Rooted in South Africa since its creation in 1997 by Douglas Ryder, a professional cyclist until 2002 and still the manager of a team sponsored from 2007 to 2015 by a telecommunications company present throughout the African continent. Qhubeka (a word that means "advance" in the Xhosa language) is a foundation that provides bicycles as a means of transport to underprivileged populations. It still works hand-in-hand with this team with a strong identity and humanitarian calling, sponsored by IT company Dimension Data for three years now.
The crowning achievement of its first participation was Daniel Teklehaimanot wearing the polka-dot jersey until the Pyrenees. The Eritrean has won the mountains classification at the Critérium du Dauphiné for two consecutive years. Stephen Cummings' win in Mende came on a very symbolic day when MTN-Qhubeka riders were wearing orange-and-black helmets to commemorate July 18 (Mandela Day), the birthday of the charismatic South African leader and an occasion to celebrate peace worldwide. Dimension Data took it to a whole new level with the signing of sprinter Mark Cavendish. Combined with another stellar ride by Cummings in the Pyrenees, the Manxman's four stage wins at the 2016 Tour meant the team claimed almost a quarter of all stages! Edvald Boasson Hagen saved the team's 2017 Tour with a win in Salon-de-Provence. Louis Meintjes, eighth overall in the last two editions, is returning to the fold to write a new chapter in the team's African success story.
Stage wins: 7
Secondary classification wins: 0
Yellow jerseys: 1
4: the number of days Daniel Teklehaimanot spent in the polka-dot jersey in the 2015 Tour de France
9 July 2015: Daniel Teklehaimanot becomes the first MTN-Qhubeka rider to pull on a distinctive jersey of the Tour de France —the polka-dot jersey— in Le Havre.
18 July 2015: On Mandela Day, Stephen Cummings overtakes Frenchmen Romain Bardet and Thibaut Pinot within sight of the line in Mende to claim the first Tour de France stage win for an African brand team.
2 July 2016: Mark Cavendish goes back to his winning ways at Utah Beach, claiming the yellow jersey for the first time in his career in the process.
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