Being Africa’s first registered UCI Professional Continental team, Team Principal Douglas Ryder says the race is significant for the team as it takes place on home soil.
“It is fantastic to be able to end our season in Rwanda and start 2014 in Gabon. We are a proudly South African and African team and it is important for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung to race as much as feasibly possible in African races. Our participation also adds to the profile of the events we participate in in Africa and this year’s Tour of Amissa Bongo has the best field ever for an African race which is wonderful for cycling on the African continent,” Ryder said.
The event will also be a welcomed return to racing for two athletes returning to the sport. John-Lee Augustyn and Linus Gerdemann will make their debut in Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung colours.
“It is fantastic that the return of Linus Gerdemann and John-Lee Augustyn to racing will happen in an African race on an African team. Both riders are exceptional talents that have big roles to play in Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung this year and into the future for African cycling. I know they cannot wait to pin numbers on their new team jerseys in 2014 and get back in the peloton. They are both really happy to be back,” Ryder concluded.
Algerian, Youcef Reguigui, will lead the team in the sprints and showed some good form earlier this week after winning a local event in Algeria. The rest of the team make up includes Songezo Jim who finished fourth on the general classification last year and Adrien Niyonshuti and Ferekalsi Debesay.
Race website: http://www.tropicaleamissabongo.com/
La Tropicale Amissa Bongo (Gabon) – (13 – 19 Jan/UCI 2.1)
Adrien Niyonshuti (RWA)
Ferekalsi Debesay (ERI)
John-Lee Augustyn (RSA)
Linus Gerdemann (GER)
Songezo Jim (RSA)
Youcef Reguigui (ALG)
Staff: Kevin Campbell (Sports Director), Dr Jarrad van Zuydam (Doctor), Hagen Bernutz (Soigneur), Yvonne Houweling (Soigneur), Heiko Heinrici (Mechanic).
Photo: La Tropicale Amissa Bongo.