Dlamini becomes the first black South African to participate in the Tour de France
Dlamini makes history as Qhubeka ASSOS team names Tour de France roster
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, June 18, 2021 / – Dlamini becomes the first black South African to participate in the Tour de France; Dlamini, Bennett and Campenaerts are all making the first starts of the Tour de France; Aru, Henao, Clarke and Gogl add significant experience; Walscheid turns to flat stages and time trials; The spirit of Ubuntu – I am because we are – is exposed to the world.
The Qhubeka ASSOS team continues to make history as we are delighted to announce our list of eight riders for the 2021 Tour de France, which includes the debut of Nicholas Dlamini, who becomes the first black South African to participate in the flagship event.
Team Qhubeka ASSOS, the African team of the UCI WorldTour, will make its seventh appearance on the Tour de France after its first participation in 2015 (MTN-Qhubeka). During this period, the team won seven stages; and wore the yellow, green and polka dot jerseys respectively.
The selection of Dlamini is a defining moment for the team registered in South Africa, as he becomes the last rider to move from our development team to the UCI WorldTour and then to win his selection to participate in the biggest cycling race. in the world.
The 25-year-old, who grew up in an informal Cape Town, first gained attention as a runner before embarking on cycling where his talents led him to join the World Cycling Center Africa of the UCI in Potchefstroom, South Africa. It was from there that he first secured a place in our UCI continental team – Team Qhubeka – based in Lucca, Italy.
In his second season with the continental team, Dlamini rode as an intern in our WorldTour team, then turned professional in 2018. Since then he has raced around the world, including twice in the Vuelta a Espana ( 2019 and 2020) and has worn the King of the Mountains jersey at the Tour Down Under and the Tour of Britain.
2020 saw its season heavily impacted by an arm injury, as well as the wider impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the cycling calendar, but 2021 saw Dlamini selected to represent the South Africa team in the Tokyo Olympics, and now called to our Tour de France team.
Dlamini’s racing style will likely see his talents deployed in the offensive strategy the team will look to pursue during the race, while also playing a key supporting role in the flatter stages.
Bennett (25) is making his Tour debut after two previous Grand Tour starts at the Giro d’Italia, and after making his first start for our team at Etoile de Besseges in February. The Californian enters the race after having impressed with his aggressive race and his versatility in the service of the ambitions of the team during the race; and provides a perfect foil for the team’s strategic goals.
Victor Campenaerts, stage winner of the Giro d’Italia, is also making his Tour de France debut in 2021 and is approaching the event with confidence. The Belgian time-trial world record holder, who made a name for himself as a time trial, changed his approach in 2021 and claimed a momentous victory in Gorizia a month ago.
Italian Grand Tour winner Fabio Aru has seen his form develop steadily throughout 2021 and will bring an incredible amount of experience to our roster. After starting the year in cyclo-cross, the Sardinian has accumulated 33 days of racing, most recently finishing the Critérium du Dauphiné.
In 2017 he finished 5th overall by winning the fifth stage and also wore the yellow jersey for a time. 2021 will mark his fourth start to the event.
Michael Gogl has been the team’s flagship rider in the 2020 Tour de France and his performances during this year, punctuated by his sixth place at the Strade Bianche, see him playing a vital role in our team. His position as road captain, alongside Simon Clarke, is invaluable. This will be the 27-year-old’s fourth participation in the Tour de France, after racing for the first time in 2017.
His traveling companion, Simon Clarke, is taking the start of the Tour de France for the sixth time, with three previous stage classifications among the top 10. The 34-year-old makes his first Tour for the Qhubeka ASSOS team and begins his 15th Grand Tour overall. Clarke, whose father is from Cape Town, will celebrate his birthday on the final stop in Paris, Mandela Day.
Max Walscheid will take part in his second Grand Tour of the year after an excellent performance at the Giro d’Italia. Two top 10s in the two individual time trials in Italy saw the 1.99m German thrilled with the improvements he has made in this discipline and with a number of opportunities offered in the flatter stages, he hopes to cause surprise.
Our roster of eight riders is complemented by the inclusion of Colombian Sergio Henao. The extremely experienced 33-year-old makes his fourth Tour appearance with a best performance of 12th overall in 2016, and his ability to both play a supporting role and take the race for himself offers the exciting options team. .
The 2021 Tour de France starts in Brest on June 26 and ends in Paris on July 18. Stay tuned for the final week of preparation for the event with more exciting news to come from the team.
Throughout 2021, Team Qhubeka ASSOS has sought to do things differently by asking our fans to announce our lineups for the races. The response to this initiative has been incredible and has seen our supporters engage with the team in a very unique way which has further enriched their relationship with the team.
Our announcement of the 2021 Tour de France team is a special tribute to all of our fans and partners who, with us, celebrate the true spirit of Ubuntu – I am because we are.
The announcement video, which can be viewed here, is a special collaboration celebrating the time, effort, love and care they have shown to the team in celebrating our goal and making a meaningful impact in the world by spreading the message that bikes change lives.
The composition of the Tour de France 2021 [squad numbers]:
Simon Clarke – Australia 
Michael Gogl – Austria 
Victor Campenaerts – Belgium 
Max Walscheid – Germany 
Sean Bennett – United States 
Nic Dlamini – South Africa 
Sergio Henao – Colombia 
Fabio Aru – Italy