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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, December 25, 2021

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2021 Tour de France | 2021 Giro d'Italia

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Team Qhubeka is Still Moving Forward

The following press release means I wrong (and I am very glad that I was in error) yesterday in saying that the team will fold:

The team sent me this update:

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa:We are deeply saddened to confirm that our hopes to race as a UCI WorldTour team in 2022 are over. This follows an extensive global search, during this unprecedented time, to secure the long-term future of the team.

In the last few days, our final possibility to continue at that level was not able to be concluded, and so the decision has been taken for the WorldTour operation to cease on 31 December, 2021.

The Qhubeka-Assos team at the 2021 UAE Tour. They will be back next year. Sirotti photo

This is an extremely disappointing moment for our organisation. As a team that from the outset has strived to play a hugely progressive step in cycling through our partnership with the Qhubeka Charity, highlighted by our unique purpose-led approach, to not be able to continue to do so in 2022 comes as a significant loss to the cycling world.

Our list of successes on the bike has seen us experience incredible highs. Many will remember the amazing achievements of Gerald Ciolek, Steve Cummings, Mark Cavendish, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Ben King, Omar Fraile, Kristian Sbaragli, Ben O’Connor, Giacomo Nizzolo, Victor Campenaerts and Mauro Schmid raising their hands in delight crossing the finish line – in celebration of our purpose.

As important are the moments that saw Nic Dlamini and Daniel Teklehaimanot make history in riding the Tour de France for us, highlighting of the challenges African riders face just to get the opportunity to race in Europe like in the case of Negasi Haylu Aabreha, the inspiring group of young club riders from Khayelitsha who traveled with us to the Grand Depart in Brussels, and of course the incredible Qhubeka Charity – to name just a few. Our team has been a home for one and all, and carried the hopes and dreams of a continent and far beyond.

A Qhubeka bike distribution ceremony is still one of the most incredible events one can attend. One that in a single moment illustrates completely the true value of a bicycle, and the role that it has in changing lives.

We want to thank all of our fans for their incredible, unwavering support, and for placing your trust in us for being at the forefront of changing our sport. For that we will forever be grateful and so we hope that you will continue to support us into the future as we now take the next step in our journey.

Make no mistake, this announcement is one that weighs heavy but now more than ever has invigorated and motivated us to rebuild and to once again stake a claim to be racing on the sport’s biggest stage, and all while ensuring that we continue to offer a platform for talent from Africa to progress to the very highest level.

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To that end, Team Qhubeka will continue to operate as a UCI Continental team in 2022, which is based in Italy, with our goal to return back to the top-tier in the near future. Our support for the Qhubeka Charity is unwavering for whom to date we have raised significant funds and awareness. 

Douglas Ryder – Team Principal:
On Thursday I sent an internal message to our staff and riders to tell them the news. It was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done in my life. The responses have been so emotional and supportive.

It gave me such faith and belief that what we have done here is truly unique; when you work in an environment that has a bigger purpose and impacts others positively then it no longer feels like work.

We’ve seen that spirit – Ubuntu – firmly take hold this year and extend beyond our team into our fan base and into the media; so brilliantly documented in Rouleur magazine after Victor Campenaerts’ stage victory at the Giro d’Italia.

We rose as Africa’s team from South Africa, to include all of Africa; from road cycling to mountain biking to women’s cycling and finally focusing on taking an African-registered road team to the Tour de France.

We moved through the ranks, from a Continental team to a Pro team winning Milan Sanremo, a Monument, in our first season to becoming a WorldTour team for the last six years. We have moved Africa forwards in cycling, we have moved people through Qhubeka and we will continue our movement that bicycles do change people’s lives. Having the world championships take place in Rwanda in 2025 is a testament to so many working together and believing in Africa’s potential.

To not have a team from Africa in the top two tiers of men’s cycling is a significant moment and something for us all to reflect on, particularly in light of where the world and sport is at the moment. We’ve had some incredible interactions during our search for a title partner in order for us to secure our future but unfortunately we were not able to conclude a deal in time.

But Team Qhubeka is still moving forwards, our Continental team will be racing and we have other exciting projects and ideas that will see us continue to use our platform to change lives with bicycles. Our work with the Qhubeka Charity has truly inspired us, and will continue to do so. It should be a story that inspires all of cycling and beyond, and we want you to be a part of our journey.

To all of our former, current and future partners I want to thank you for your faith and belief in what we want to achieve. One thing I can absolutely guarantee is that we’ve always given our absolute best, and you have our commitment to do so in the future.

To all our staff and riders past and present thank you for your dedication and support, see you soon.

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Amy Pieters medical updates

Dec 23 post from Pieters’ Team SD Worx:
Amy Pieters lost consciousness this afternoon after a crash during a road training near the Spanish town of Calpe and was transported to the hospital in Alicante by a trauma helicopter. She has since undergone surgery on her head.

The fall occurred after a collision within the national track team who were in Spain for a training camp.

Amy Pieters

Here’s the Dec 24 post:
Yesterday Amy Pieters was operated on her head in the hospital of Alicante. During this operation, the doctors took away the pressure in her head that was created by the fall. Amy Pieters will be kept asleep the coming days.

When the doctors wake her up in a few days, it will be possible to make an assessment of the possible damage. Her family has travelled to the hospital.

At the moment, no further announcements can be made regarding the accident, and we would ask everyone to respect the privacy of those involved. Of course, everyone in Team SD Worx is currently thinking of Amy and her family.

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