TEAM QHUBEKA NEXTHASH
TEAM QHUBEKA NEXTHASH
Africa arrived at the 2015 Tour like South America 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 the South African Robert Hunter, who finished first in Montpellier in 2007 (stage 11). In 2013, the first African wearer of the yellow jersey, the 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, backed by a sponsor from Johannesburg but registered in the United Kingdom and managed by Italians.
In 2015, MTN–Qhubeka became the first genuinely African trade team to get a Tour de France wild card. 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 "to move forward" 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 a humanitarian calling, sponsored from 2016 by Dimension Data, a digital services firm doing business under the name of its parent company NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone) since 2019. The apparel manufacturer Assos stepped up to sponsor the team in 2021.
The crowning achievement of its first participation was Daniel Teklehaimanot holding the polka-dot jersey until the Pyrenees. The Eritrean also won the mountains classification of the Critérium du Dauphiné two years in a row. Stephen Cummings' win in Mende came on a highly symbolic day on which 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 barnstorming ride by Cummings in the Pyrenees, the Manxman's four stage wins in the 2016 Tour meant the team claimed almost a quarter of all stages! Edvald Boasson Hagen managed to salvage something from the team's 2017 Tour with a win in Salon-de-Provence, but their performance nosedived in 2018 and 2019, as a virus plagued the twilight years of Mark Cavendish's career and new recruits Roman Kreuziger and Michael Valgren failed to live up to expectations. The current Hour Record holder, Victor Campenaerts, joined the team in 2020. Its star signing for this season is former yellow jersey and Vuelta champion Fabio Aru.
4 : the number of days Daniel Teklehaimanot spent in the polka-dot jersey in the 2015 Tour de France.
- Final victory0
- Stages victories7
- Yellow Jersey1
- Other race Won0
Overall wins: 0
Podium finishes: 0
Stage wins: 7
- 2015: Stephen Cummings in Mende
- 2016: Mark Cavendish at Utah Beach / Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, Angers, Montauban and Villars-les-Dombes Parc des Oiseaux and Stephen Cummings in Lac de Payolle
- 2017: Edvald Boasson Hagen in Salon-de-Provence
Secondary classification wins: 0
Yellow jerseys: 1
- 2016: Mark Cavendish, one day
- 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 trade team.
- 2 July 2016: Mark Cavendish gets back to his winning ways at Utah Beach and pulls on the yellow jersey for the first time in his career.
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