Starting on 4 July nine riders will represent the African continent on cycling’s most global stage, Le Tour de France. This nine riders are a team called MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung, and the team is Africa’s first Professional Continental cycling team.
With the objective of driving a charity campaign tagged #BicyclesChangeLives , the riders hope to putting 5,000 kids on bicycles through the Qhubeka charity .
Team consists of two Eritrean riders, the first men ever from the country, to take part in the Tour de France, Merhawi Kudus and Daniel Teklehaimanot . Merhawi Kudus will also be the youngest rider in the race. There will be three South African riders making their Tour de France debut: the African champion, Louis Meintjes, South African champion, Jacques Janse Van Rensburg, and Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg.
Edvald Boasson Hagen , Tyler Farrar, Serge Pauwels and Steve Cummings are experienced riders on the team while Natnael Berhane and Youcef Reguigi will be the two reserve riders for the team.
In an interview with Ayiba magazine, the team says
“Cycling is certainly growing on the continent but in terms of infrastructure there is still room for development. There’s a lot of talent in Africa and there are more and more people realizing that bicycles can change lives. They are helpful to commute, but also to race on. Racing is getting more and more popular in some areas, and our participation in the Tour de France will hopefully give cycling as a sport another push on the continent.
Through racing on the highest level of the sport we are able to spread our message, which is the #BicyclesChangeLives campaign. Moreover, we are the only team who carries the name of a charity in its team name. This is rare but underlines our ambition to mobilize change. With a growing awareness for the charity we can raise more funds for it and help to put more kids on bikes. This year we want to raise donations to be able to change the lives of 5,000 kids. Bicycles can help them to commute to school faster, to see doctors, etc. Thinking of that one realizes what an impact bicycles can have for the needy in Africa. They really can change their lives.”