Australia’s Simon Clarke will bring excellent leadership and boost the performance goals in our team for the coming season. The 34-year-old Australian has an impressive palmares, mixing excellent ability as a road captain while also able to challenge for his own opportunities for success.
The double Vuelta a Espana stage-winner, who also won the Herald Sun Tour in 2014, raced to an impressive victory at the Royal Bernard Drome Classic in 2020, while also taking two top-5 stage finishes at the Giro d’Italia. He joins the team looking to build yet further on that success in 2021.
His signing will be complemented by the experience of Belgian Dimitri Claeys, who will look to operate as significant player in our team’s Classics aspirations. The multi-talented man from Ghent was an impressive sixth at the Tour of Flanders in 2020 and will form a key part of a group that includes Giacomo Nizzolo and Max Walscheid, among others, as we fight for results.
The exciting Swiss talent Kilian Frankiny had a very strong 2020 highlighted by two top-5 stage finishes at the Giro d’Italia. The 26-year-old has excellent climbing abilities and will be looking to take the next step up in his career, while also riding in support of our team’s general classification aspirations in the biggest races.
I’m really thrilled to be taking on a new challenge with Team Qhubeka ASSOS. In one way, this is a sort of homecoming in that my father is South African and I’ve always felt some sort of deeper interest and pull towards the team.
The opportunity to find out more and contribute to the amazing work that the Qhubeka Charity does is truly unique, and the South African side of my family is already pushing me to ensure that I get the pronunciation correct – so I have some work to do!
2020 has been a strange and difficult year for everyone but a highlight without doubt was my victory at Royal Bernard Drome on a day in really tough conditions.
I really look forward to bringing those capabilities, as well as my leadership qualities, into the team and look forward to making it a very special year for us all. There’s already a strong core group in place and no doubt with further additions to come we’ll be competitive wherever we race.
Finally, my wife is from the area very close to where ASSOS are based and so I’ve come to know some of the people involved over the years. They are a fantastic product and to have them as a key role player is going to be great.
I am very honoured to ride for Team Qhubeka ASSOS next season. 2020 was a strange season for all of us but my performance at Flanders, in particular, was very pleasing for me and I look forward to reproducing more performances like that next season.
This team has a very special history, over a relatively short period of time, which I now look forward to not only add to but to play a part in creating the next chapter of that journey.
I’m very excited to start 2021 with my new team, Team Qhubeka ASSOS. I can’t wait to find out more about the Charity as I think it’s a great thing to distribute bicycles to help.
I’m really looking forward to racing; a new challenge and adventures with a team that has set itself some lofty goals for the season ahead.
It’s also very nice to have two Swiss brands on board in ASSOS and BMC. I know these brands already and they are exceptional, and with me being Swiss I’m really excited to go back to these two brands.
I hope to, and will, give my absolute very best to fulfill the goals of the team to achieve good results and to perform at my very best in order for us to be a great team in 2021.
Lars Michaelsen – Head Sports Director
We are delighted to have Simon join us. He is an experienced rider who has a very strong ability in how to “read” a race. We expect Simon both to be an important team player and to fight for top results when at his best.
Moreover, having a background as a track rider Simon will also be able to contribute when lead-outs are required to set up in races where he will ride in support of our sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo. He’s a great acquisition and one that we are very pleased with.
Kilian will have the opportunity with our team to showcase his climbing skills as well as being a strong support to our designated leader in our general classification aspirations. This means that he will give us Team Qhubeka ASSOS a card to play in the medium and high mountains which will be very important.
Dimitri shares his passion with a style of racing that I loved so much and will be hugely important in our ambitions in the Classics. A tough customer who showed this year at the Tour of Flanders that he was able to be among the lead group in the finale, we look forward to him bringing those sorts of performances to our team together with his experience to share among our group of riders.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of NTT Pro Cycling.
Jean Smyth (Head of Communications)
Mobile: +27 63 4701 1710 or +31 625 739 033
About NTT Pro Cycling:
Founded in 2007, NTT Pro Cycling (formerly Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka) (NTTProCycling.com) became the first-ever African cycling team to gain a WorldTour license, in 2016. With the support of our headline sponsor and technology innovation partner, NTT, we are the most purpose-driven, performance-led, and technology-enabled team in pro cycling today.
Our ambition is to continue to race at the highest levels in world cycling, to develop riders to realise their full potential and to inspire and motivate people across the African continent to ride bicycles.
We have bases in South Africa, Denmark, the Netherlands and Italy.
We also ride to raise awareness for Qhubeka, a global charity operating in South Africa, through our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign.
The hands on the back of the team race jersey are a reminder that every Qhubeka bicycle is a helping hand up to a beneficiary, which are provided through Qhubeka's learn-to-earn and work-to-earn programmes.
Qhubeka (Qhubeka.org) is a charity that moves people forward with bicycles. People earn bicycles through our programmes, improving their access to schools, clinics and jobs.
A bicycle is a tool that helps people to travel faster and further, and to carry more. In the face of extreme and persistent poverty, bicycles can change lives by helping to address socioeconomic challenges at the most basic level – helping people to get where they need to go.
All images attached to the press release can be used with the respective image credit in combination to this release.
Clarke, Claeys and Frankiny to boost Team Qhubeka ASSOS (1)