Cape Town - Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka has confirmed their 8-rider team to compete at the 105th Tour de France
starting on Saturday, July 7.
The team was released via a special video
announcement at the team's headquarters in Johannesburg on Friday.
Mark Cavendish, who has won 30 stages of the event and 48 stages
across the Grand Tours, makes his 12th start and will be hoping to
add to that tally having tasted success for Team Dimension Data in 2016 winning
“I’m so excited to be able to ride the Tour de France again in my career, for
the third time in Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka.
The 33-year-old comes into the race after most recently featuring at the
Adriatica Ionica Race and will be in Northumberland on Sunday competing at the
British Nationals before heading to France.
“The Tour de France is not only the biggest cycling event on the planet but
it’s one of the biggest sporting events on the planet; and it’s the best
platform to get across what we as Team Dimension Data do for our charity
Qhubeka, to get people in rural parts of Africa on bicycles.
“I’m excited to be part of a strong team and I’ll be looking at getting closer
to that record (34)of Eddie Merckx.”
Alongside Cavendish will be long time team-mate Australian Mark Renshaw who will
be riding the race for the 10th time. Renshaw’s experience, along
with Belgium’s Julien Vermote, who has ridden the last three editions of the
race, will be crucial in the first week in particular that sees a number of
opportunities to contest sprint finishes.
Edvald Boasson Hagen who was the team’s standout performer in 2017, securing a
handful of podium finishes including victory on stage 19, starts his eighth
Tour de France. The current Norwegian time trial champion adds significant
depth to the team’s experience once again.
“I’m really excited to be named in the team for the Tour de France this year. I
look forward to the start and am feeling fully prepared for the event ahead,”
South Africa’s Reinardt Janse van Rensburg returns to the race for a fourth
time. This comes after a lengthy injury lay-off having only made his return to
racing in mid-May. In 2017 ‘Reinie’ was hailed among the best leadout
proponents in the peloton and will be looking to build on that reputation in
“I am very excited to be selected as part of this strong team. I had serious
doubts about whether I will be back in time from injury for this year for the
Tour de France. It's been a difficult journey, but also gave me a chance to
grow stronger as a cyclist and as a person, and now I feel ready to give it my
all once more in the Tour,” he said.
“I am confident that with this team we can achieve some stage wins, and I hope
to play a key part in that. I will also be looking to be ready for any
opportunities that come my way.”
Serge Pauwels rides his fourthconsecutive Tour de France having
finished in the top 20 twice in the last three years. The 34-year-old Belgian’s
been in strong form this year having finished third at the Tour de
Dutchman Tom-Jelte Slagter will ride the Tour for the first
time for our team having produced strong performances at the Tour de Suisse, La
Fleche Wallonne and early in the season at the Tour Down Under.
Completing the line-up is South Africa’s Jay Thomson. The 30-year-old makes his
Tour de France debut and his selection comes off the back of a very strong
An emotional Thomson said of his selection: “Ever since I can
remember I’ve spent hours and days in front of the TV watching heroes being
made and guys fighting it out for glory on the roads of France. I’m honoured
and proud that this year I’ll be part of the 105th edition of the
Tour de France."
“I’ll be proudly riding with the South African bands on my arm
as a previous champion of South Africa, as we look for stage wins throughout
this tour, while representing Qhubeka in making lives better for people back in
Mark Cavendish, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Mark Renshaw, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Serge Pauwels, Julien Vermote, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Jay Thomson
Douglas Ryder – Team
“Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is really looking forward to starting our fourth
Tour de France with an incredible team that will chase stage wins and try to
realise a dream. This year’s tour reminds me of our first tour in 2015
with tough stages that will require strong teams to succeed and our 2018 team
is totally focused on achieving the maximum we can. With 8 rider teams this
year it is imperative to get the right combinations together to achieve the big
bold goals we have. After all, we do race ForQhubeka and our success will
change more lives with bicycles.”
Rolf Aldag – Head of
“We picked eight riders with the clear goal to be very present right from the
start, with cross-wind stages for the selected 8, and a Paris-Roubaix stage for
the likes of Edvald (Boasson Hagen) who is a Classics expert.
We also have the Mur de Bretagne where Tom-Jelte Slagter can hopefully shine
for us and Edvald’s showed in the past that he’s capable of getting up there.
And then of course we want to compare this to the 2016 Tour
where we came in as one unit with the day-to-day approach that we’ll try to win
stages. We also clearly want to be present later on in the race with Serge
Pauwels too so we'll approach the event from the point of view; that there
is no tomorrow. It’s all about today, being one united team.
We know what our responsibilities are to support Qhubeka and the best way to do
that is of course by trying to win, by trying to be a big factor during the
Tour de France, one of the biggest sports events in the world.”