Cape Town - Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka announced the signings of South African Ryan Gibbons and Australian Ben O’Connor on Wednesday.
Having ridden in the Under-23 ranks over the last few seasons both will make the step up into the professional ranks.
Gibbons, 22, hails from Johannesburg. Having ridden for the Dimension Data for Qhubeka continental team, his early season performances earned him a stagiaire spot in the team’s World Tour outfit, for which he rode since August. It didn’t take him long to continue to impress. Besides riding in support roles for the team leaders, he also managed to handle the pressure of captaining the team at the Münsterland Giro, where he finished as the team’s best-placed rider.
Speaking about the signing Gibbons said, “I am so fortunate and have been privileged to get this wonderful opportunity to join the team. I’m grateful to have been given a taste of what pro cycling is about as a stagiaire. This has opened my eyes and given me a hunger and huge motivation for the future. I hope to be a valuable member of the team and ultimately achieve much success.”
Perth-based O’Connor joins the team from Avanti-IsoWhey. The 20-year-old Australian excels in the mountains. He has some strong finishes in Under-23 stage races to his name with a third place overall at the Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc being one of his best results to date.
O’Connor expressed his excitement about riding for the team, “The team has a close network of support that will help and guide me in the huge step to what is a top-tier team in the world of cycling. The ability to race with and for some of the classiest bike riders currently around - riders like Edvald Boasson Hagen, Steve Cummings and Mark Cavendish to name a few - will be the perfect environment for my development as a neo-professional.”
Team Principal Douglas Ryder added, “I always really enjoy the energy and big wide open eyes of young riders as they embark on a journey that is unknown to them. The passion and dedication is so contagious and affects a whole team so positively. When you surround them with a great culture, amazing people, mentorship and a high performance environment then magic happens.
“To see both Ryan and Ben show such determination and willpower this year it is a pleasure to have them join Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka as neo-pros. We have high hopes for both of them as they become the aspirational riders of our feeder team and the inspiration to so many in communities that Qhubeka shifts with bicycles.”