Africa’s premier cycling team, fresh off the back of their Tour de France success, have arrived in Cape Town for their first training camp.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, welcomed the MTN-Qhubeka team, which includes a host of new top signings, to the Western Cape for their first training camp of the new season.
The team, which includes Tour de France stage winners, is preparing for the upcoming season, during which they are aiming to compete in the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) WorldTour.
MTN-Qhubeka comprises 22 riders from across the globe, including Cape Town cyclist, Songezo Jim, 2015 Tour de France stage winner Steven Cummings, and British-born superstar sprinter, Mark Cavendish.
Minister Winde said the team’s decision to host its training camp in Cape Town spoke to the confidence it had in the destination.
Minister Winde added that having a team of such high prestige train here strengthened the province’s brand as a cycling destination, which tied in with Project Khulisa’s objective to grow cycling tourism.
Minister Winde has the goal of attracting 100 000 cycling tourists to the Western Cape each year.
“To have Africa’s leading cycle team here in the Western Cape is a great honour for us. The promotional value of their visit will contribute greatly to showcasing the province as an international cycling destination.
“Cycling races, such as the Cape Town Cycle Tour, the Absa Cape Epic and the Cape Rouleur generate in excess of R700 million for our economy each year. Visitors travel from across the world to participate in these flagship events. Like these races, hosting the MTN-Qhubeka training camp enhances the global appeal of our province as a cycling destination.”
The team’s principal, Douglas Ryder, recently announced that Dimension Data and Deloitte would be its key sponsors for the new season.
The team is based at Tsogo Sun’s Cullinan Hotel in the Cape Town CBD for the duration of the camp, which runs until then end of this weekend.