The Qhubeka NextHash team safely navigates the hilly Tour de France (TdF) opening stage
A 6-rider breakaway eventually cleared, but the peloton kept them close as the punchy final suited several of the pre-race favorites. Drama then struck 45km from the finish, as a fan hampered the peloton and caused a massive crash ahead of the race.
Luckily, all of the Qhubeka NextHash team runners made it through the carnage to keep running. As the breakaway was caught and the peloton rushed towards the final climb, another high speed mass crash occurred 7 km from the finish. Once again, luck was on our side as all of our runners managed to escape without serious injury.
The falls had visibly shattered the peloton, leaving only 25 riders vying for stage honors. World Champion Alaphilippe scored a brilliant victory while Michael Gogl and Sergio Henao were the first home riders for the Qhubeka NextHash team, finishing in group 2 on the road.
Our remaining 6 riders, including Tour beginners Nicholas Dlamini, Sean Bennett, Carlos Barbero & Campenaerts all managed to finish the stage safely.
The Qhubeka NextHash team wishes a speedy recovery to all those injured in accidents today.
I think that was one of the first stages of a race I’ve done in a time when there have been so many big crashes, but I think we can be happy that no one has really been too seriously injured, it could have been worse. The race was everything we expected, the first stages are always like this, with a lot of stress in the peloton.
It was really good to make my debut and the race started quite quickly. Victor was very good on the first climb but from there it didn’t really stop, it just continued for about 15km before the race slowed down but you could still feel the tension in the peloton with all the always nervous world. And after the first big accident, things got tense as the speed increased in the final, but the roads didn’t get any easier with the road furniture.
I think we can really look forward to the next step now and live it day by day.
I just want to thank everyone again for the incredible support they have given me and the team. It has been amazing, and we will continue to strive to make everyone proud as we continue to change lives with bikes.
It was a very eventful start as usual at the Grande Départ. In the final there was another very big crash and I did well but Sergio lost a few positions and was not in the right position to contest.
We had to have the legs for this kind of final so I’m not generally satisfied with the day but above all we are relatively unscathed and therefore we are impatiently awaiting the opportunities to come.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Qhubeka NextHash team.
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About the Qhubeka NextHash team:
The Qhubeka NextHash team is a goal-driven high performance team fighting to win on the world’s biggest stage, to inspire hope and create opportunity. Founded in 2007, the Qhubeka NextHash team (formerly NTT Pro Cycling) became the first African cycling team to obtain a UCI WorldTour license, in 2016.
We had our first major victory in 2013 when Gerald Ciolek won Milan-San Remo, one of the five monuments of cycling. We have participated in six Tour de France and won 7 stage victories, with Mark Cavendish wearing the coveted Yellow Jersey at the Tour de France 2016.
We are a multicultural and diverse team with bases in South Africa, the Netherlands and Italy. There are 19 nationalities represented in our World Tour and Continental Feeder team rosters. Our focus on the development of African cycling has enabled over 55 riders from the African continent to be offered the opportunity to race on the world stage since the inception of the team.
We run to help people get ahead with cycling through our relationship with Qhubeka Charity. Through our work with Qhubeka, we have helped distribute over 30,000 bikes to communities across South Africa.
Qhubeka is a charity that gets people moving with bikes. People are gaining bicycles through our programs, improving their access to schools, clinics and jobs.
A bicycle is a tool that helps people travel faster, farther, and carry more. In the face of extreme and persistent poverty, bikes can change lives by helping tackle socio-economic challenges at the most basic level – helping people get to where they need to go.
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