Africa’s former top cycling outfit Team Qhubeka has named the riders who will compete in its colours in UCI Continental races in 2022.
The team, which was registered in South Africa until December last year as Team Qhubeka NextHash, is now registered in Italy.
The change came after Team Qhubeka NextHash failed to secure a licence to compete on the World Tour, the highest level of the sport that includes the right to compete at races like the Tour de France.
Instead the team, led by South African Nic Dlamini and including riders from Rwanda, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Italy on its 14-man roster, will race in the third tier of global cycling.
The switch in registration means that the team can compete in races around Europe.
“Team Qhubeka remains committed to changing lives with bicycles and providing African talent with opportunity on cycling’s biggest stage,” the team said in a statement.
Dlamini, who rode at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and on the Tour de France last year, will take on a “unique role as a mentor and rider” for the team, which is now based in the Tuscan city of Lucca.
The 26-year-old graduated from the team’s development outfit before turning professional in 2018.
“I am really excited to stay with Team Qhubeka as the team means an enormous amount to me and is a part of my DNA,” Dlamini said.
“To continue to support the Qhubeka charity in racing for a purpose is completely unique across not only cycling, but all sport.
“The team has given me personal opportunities including being able to fulfil my childhood dream and to ride at the Tour de France.
“This year I will fill a mentorship role to the Under-23 riders in the squad. Having moved through the ranks and now being able to mentor the youngsters in the team and show them the ropes, will be extremely fulfilling for me.”
He did admit that he still dreams of competing at the Tour de France again.
“Regarding the Tour de France, there is unfinished business and I would love to go back to the Tour to finish what I started,” he said.
“I still have a lot of years ahead of me to race my bike and to achieve my dreams and goals.”
Team principal Douglas Ryder echoed Dlamini’s thoughts.
“Team Qhubeka means to move forward, and we will continue to move forwards, changing people’s lives, providing hope, opportunity, and mobility,” Ryder added.
“Our team is about performance and racing, but it is equally about upliftment and community.”
2022 Team Qhubeka squad:
- Nicholas Dlamini – 26 (South Africa – Mentor and rider)
- Renus Uhiriwe – 20 (Rwanda)
- Negasi Abreha – 21 (Ethiopia)
- Ghebrehiwet Birhane – 21 (Eritrea)
- Kevin Bonaldo – 21 (Italy)
- Mattia Guasco – 21 (Italy)
- Luca Coati – 22 (Italy)
- Travis Stedman – 19 (South Africa – new rider)
- Nahom Zeray Araya – 19 (Eritrea – new rider)
- Efrem Gebrehiwet Araya – 19 (Eritrea – new rider)
- Jacopo Meneghotto – 21 (Italy – new rider)
- Nicolo Parisini – 21 (Italy – new rider)
- Raffaele Mosca – 18 (Italy – new rider)
- Alessandro Iacchi – 22 (Italy – new rider)