Ciolek leads SA team in Italy
Gerald Ciolek (Photo supplied)
Cape Town - Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will make its European debut for 2013 at Trofeo Laigueglia in Liguria, Italy on Saturday.
The race will be an historic event for South African cycling as the team is the first ever UCI registered Professional Continental team from Africa.
Former under-23 world champion Gerald Ciolek will captain the team for the 196km event.
“Training has been great so far,” said Ciolek. “We started with riding many kilometres in South Africa in December then I had 3 good weeks of training in Mallorca just after New Year and right now we're at the training camp with the team in Lucca, Italy.
“There’s just 8 riders here in Lucca, and we’re the 8 who will be sticking together for the upcoming races. What I've seen so far from the level of the guys makes me excited for the future. I think we can head into the next few races with confidence.”
The race will be an early season form tester for many riders as it has attracted a star studded line up. World Champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and multiple Tour de France stage winner Sandy Casar (FDJ) will be in attendance.
“It’s the first race but all the big races follow a week later so I hope to be ready and to be competitive in Laigueglia,” concluded Ciolek.
South African, Johann van Zyl and Eritrean, Ferekalsi Debesay will support the German as well as Ignatas Konovalovas, Andreas Stauff, Martin Reimer, Youcef Reguigui and Kristian Sbaragli.