TEAM MTN-QHUBEKA MAKES TOUR DE FRANCE HISTORY
On 4 July, South African cycling team MTN-Qhubeka is poised to be the first African-registered team to take part in the Tour de France. The participants are aware that their performance at the multiple stage bike race could open the door for African teams to be invited, and the strength of the team means they have a realistic chance of causing a few major upsets during the tour.
Qhubeka is an Nguni word that means “to carry on”, “to progress”, “to move forward”. Qhubeka is World Bicycle Relief’s program in South Africa. World Bicycle Relief is a global non-profit organization dedicated to advancing education, health and economic opportunities by providing simple, sustainable transportation. Since World Bicycle Relief’s founding in 2005, it has delivered more than 220,000 specially designed, locally assembled bicycles to people in need.
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung was founded in 2007 and its goal is to give talented African riders a path into the pro peloton while raising funds for Qhubeka.
The partnership between MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung and Qhubeka is a unique one. Qhubeka does not provide funding to the team rather the team uses their platform to raise awareness and funds for the nn-profit.
MTN-Qhubeka Team Principal, Douglas Ryder, said, “lots of people have spoken to us and said to us what's your performance goals for the Tour de France and we say hey we want to put 5,000 kids on bikes through our Bicycles Change Lives campaign. To do that we need to be visible, we need to win stages on the Tour de France and we'd love to wear a leader's jersey, either the sprinter's jersey, the green jersey or the best young rider's jersey, which is very possible. We have a very young team and that's kind of the thing we're going for. So a successful race would be raising enough money to put 5,000 kids on bikes and then also a stage win. Being in the major significant breakaways and being very visible as a team will stand us in good stead to go to the Tour de France again next year, because that's the ultimate goal, is to make this sustainable and get there every year.”
Team MTN-Qhubeka have urged South Africans to support their fundraising efforts by donating at www.bicycleschangelives.org
Hopefully by the time they cross the Champs-Élysées on the 26th of July, they would’ve raised enough money for 5,000 bikes.