Team Qhubeka Assos announces South Africa’s Nic Dlamini as one of six debutants lining up for tomorrow’s start of Tour de la Provence.
The four-day stage race opens up with an undulating 173km from Aubagne to Six-Fours-les-Plages, but all eyes will likely already be cast to stage three and the mountain-top finish at Mont Ventoux.
South Africa’s Nicholas Dlamini opens his season at the race and has not been in action since October 2020. The 25-year-old, who recently became a father for the first time, showed some good form at the recent training camp held in Spain and will now be looking to bring that sharpness straight into his first race.
Nic Dlamini: “I’m really quite excited to start racing again. I’ve never raced in February in Europe as I always start Down Under, so it’s quite early (for me) but I’m super- excited. I’m happy with my form; the body’s showing some good signs from the camp and I’ve been maintaining that shape so I’m excited to put it to the test. For the team going in there it’s going to be something new for us all: new riders in the team, first time working together and so on, but I think we’re all super-motivated to the highest level after seeing how our team performed in Etoile de Besseges. We want to continue with that momentum and hopefully do better and get closer and closer to the podium overall. I think with the dynamics of the whole team everyone is motivated and in a good space; and I think we’re looking forward to a great start.“
Another rider starting his first race of the season is 2015 Vuelta a España champion Fabio Aru who expressed his anticipation in finally getting his road-racing season underway for his new team.
Fabio Aru: “I’m really happy and I can’t wait now to start my road season with my new team. For sure I’ve worked really hard over the winter including participating in some cyclocross – which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m very happy overall (with my condition) and I now just want to start my road season. I will do my best for my team and teammates, and we will see how the race unfolds.“
Fabio will be joined by an exciting selection, of varying experience, out on the roads of southern France. The highly-experienced duo of Sander Armeé and Kilian Frankiny will both relish the opportunity to test themselves early in the season with the climbing on offer. The line-up is completed by a very exciting young trio: Frankiny’s Swiss compatriot Mauro Schmid, exciting Czech youngster Karel Vacek and Connor Brown who has made the exciting step up from our Continental team in 2021. These three are certainly exciting prospects to watch throughout the season.
Gabriele Missaglia – Sports Director: “The main goals for the Tour de la Provence will be to feature well across the race; definitely trying to win a stage and consequently aiming for a strong general classification from Aru and Armeé. The team is competitive, although we still have to consider that for this group it’s the first race of the season and despite having worked well with targeted training we do not know our real racing condition, yet. In what promises to be a very interesting race, the third stage is going to be by all accounts the most important, it is the stage that will likely define the general classification. I very much hope for a good result, and I am sure that is within our reach.“