Team Qhubeka ASSOS (www.TeamQhubeka.com) is excited to announce that Fabio Aru will be one of six debutants in our seven rider line-up for Tour de la Provence, starting on Thursday.
The four-day stage race opens up with an undulating 173km from Aubagne to Six-Fours-les-Plages, but all eyes will likely already be cast to stage three and the mountain-top finish at Mont Ventoux.
Aru, the 2015 Vuelta a España champion, expressed his anticipation in finally getting his road-racing season underway for his new team, and he’ll be joined by an exciting selection, of varying experience, out on the roads of southern France.
South Africa’s Nicholas Dlamini opens his season at the race having not been in action since October 2020. The 25-year-old, who recently became a father for the first time, showed some good form at the recent training camp held in Spain and will now be looking to bring that sharpness straight into his first race.
The highly-experienced duo of Sander Armeé and Kilian Frankiny will both relish the opportunity to test themselves early in the season with the climbing on offer, and both have experience of scoring good personal results in the past too.
Our line-up is completed by a very exciting young trio: Frankiny’s Swiss compatriot Mauro Schmid, exciting Czech youngster Karel Vacek and Connor Brown who has made the exciting step up from our Continental team in 2021. These three are certainly exciting prospects to watch throughout the season.
As our team did with it’s line-up for our opening race of the season at Etoile de Besseges, we’ve asked one of our ardent fans to officially name the team for the Tour de la Provence. It something that’s a new innovation for our team, and one which we know will draw our fans even closer.
For this race we want to say a big “thank you” to Marco Overbeeke for your incredible support of Team Qhubeka ASSOS.
I’m really happy and I can’t wait now to start my road season with my new team. For sure I’ve worked really hard over the winter including participating in some cyclocross – which I thoroughly enjoyed.
I’m very happy overall (with my condition) and I now just want to start my road season. I will do my best for my team and teammates, and we will see how the race unfolds.
I’m really quite excited to start racing again. I’ve never raced in February in Europe as I always start Down Under, so it’s quite early (for me) but I’m super- excited.
I’m happy with my form; the body’s showing some good signs from the camp and I’ve been maintaining that shape so I’m excited to put it to the test. For the team going in there it’s going to be something new for us all: new riders in the team, first time working together and so on, but I think we’re all super-motivated to the highest level after seeing how our team performed in Etoile de Besseges. We want to continue with that momentum and hopefully do better and get closer and closer to the podium overall.
I think with the dynamics of the whole team everyone is motivated and in a good space; and I think we’re looking forward to a great start.
Gabriele Missaglia – Sports Director
The main goals for the Tour de la Provence will be to feature well across the race; definitely trying to win a stage and consequently aiming for a strong general classification from Aru and Armeé.
The team is competitive, although we still have to consider that for this group it’s the first race of the season and despite having worked well with targeted training we do not know our real racing condition, yet.
In what promises to be a very interesting race, the third stage is going to be by all accounts the most important, it is the stage that will likely define the general classification. I very much hope for a good result, and I am sure that is within our reach.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Team Qhubeka ASSOS.
Jean Smyth (Head of Communications)
Mobile: +27 63 4701 1710 or +31 625 739 033
About Team Qhubeka ASSOS:
Team Qhubeka ASSOS (www.TeamQhubeka.com) is a purpose-led, high-performance team, fighting to win on the world's biggest stage, to inspire hope and create opportunity. Founded in 2007, Team Qhubeka ASSOS (formerly NTT Pro Cycling) became the first-ever African cycling team to gain a UCI WorldTour license, in 2016.
We achieved our first major win in 2013 when Gerald Ciolek won Milan-San Remo, one of the five Monuments of cycling. We have competed in six Tour de France’s and notched up 7 stage wins, with Mark Cavendish wearing the coveted Yellow Jersey at the 2016 Tour de France.
We are a multicultural, diverse team with bases in South Africa, the Netherlands and Italy. There are 19 nationalities represented across our World Tour and continental feeder team rosters. Our focus on developing African cycling has resulted in more than 55 riders from the African continent be given the opportunity to race on the world stage, since the team's inception.
We race to help people to move forward with bicycles through our relationship with Qhubeka Charity. Through our work with Qhubeka, we have contributed to the distribution of over 30 000 bicycles in communities in South Africa.
Qhubeka (www.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.
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Aru, Dlamini spearhead Team Qhubeka ASSOS at Tour de la Provence