“To witness the first African cycling team accepted to participate in such a big, international cycling event is testament to the capability of the team and the talent among the riders.” Brian Gouldie of MTN, one of the title sponsors of the MTN Qhubeka team, expresses his gratitude after the South African squad was officially invited to contest the 2014 Vuelta a España (23 August-14 September).
“To be accepted into the Vuelta is the beginning of the realisation of that dream. Our dream goes way beyond riding and performing well in these races, which is the enabler to bring thousands of people in communities in South Africa onto Qhubeka Buffalo bicycles to further their lives,” said Doug Ryder about the news that was announced overnight. “MTN has supported this dream to move Africa forward and with millions of eyeballs focused on the team in the Vuelta this dream will start to become a reality.”
The other wildcard teams for the 69th Vuelta a España are: Cofidis (FRA), IAM Cycling (SUI) and Caja Rual-Seguros (ESP).
“The team will focus on stage wins as well as the points jersey with Gerald Ciolek, who is a strong rider who can climb and sprint and the stages might suit his style of riding so this will be a focus,” said Ryder about the hopes of MTN Qhubeka later this year. “Sergio Pardilla and Linus Gerdemann will aim for a top GC result and they will be ably supported by our African riders who will animate the race in the 13 mountain stages.”
A notable difference of the teams for 2014 over other editions of the Vuelta is the small number of Spanish teams, only two – Movistar and Caja Rural-Seguros.
Here is the list of 22 teams for the 69th Vuelta.
|AG2R La Mondiale||FRA|
|Astana Pro Team||KAZ|
|Belkin Pro Cycling Team||NED|
|BMC Racing Team||USA|
|Caja Rural-Seguros RGA||ESP|
|Cofidis, Solutions Crédits||FRA|
|Trek Factory Racing||USA|
|Note: Italics denotes wildcard invitees.|