Doug Ryder’s Team Qhubeka Assos continues to make history and announced their team for the 2021 Tour de France which includes a debut for Nicholas Dlamini, who is now the first black South African ever to compete at the showpiece event.
It is the team’s seventh appearance at the Tour de France having first competed in 2015 as MTN-Qhubeka. Over that period the team has won seven stages, and worn the yellow, green and polka dot jerseys respectively. Dlamini’s selection is a landmark moment for the South African-registered team as he becomes the latest rider to progress through their development team and onto the UCI WorldTour, and subsequently, earn his selection to compete at the world’s biggest cycling race.
The 25-year-old, who grew up in an informal settlement in Cape Town, first impressed as a runner before moving into cycling where his talents saw him move to the UCI’s World Cycling Centre Africa in Potchefstroom, South Africa. It is from here that he first earned a spot in the teams UCI Continental outfit – Team Qhubeka – based in Lucca, Italy. In his second season with the continental team, Dlamini rode as a stagiaire on our WorldTour team and then turned professional in 2018. Since then he raced across the world, including twice competing at the Vuelta a Espana – 2019 and 2020 – and has worn the king of the mountains jersey at both the Tour Down Under and the Tour of Britain.
2020 saw his season heavily affected by an arm injury, as well as the broader impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the cycling calendar, but 2021 has seen Dlamini selected to represent Team South Africa at the Tokyo Olympic Games, and now being called up to our Tour de France squad. Dlamini’s style of racing 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.
“Being selected to ride in my first Tour de France is an absolute dream come true for me. It’s always been an absolute childhood dream for me and now that I’m about to live it makes it feel surreal. I think it speaks to what the team is about, the Ubuntu spirit, and how we change people’s lives because it is honestly a very special moment: to come from a small township and then to go to the Tour de France. Considering where I come from it would simply have been impossible for me to have the opportunity to ride at the Tour de France if it wasn’t for Team Qhubeka ASSOS. The platform that they’ve provided me, and other riders from Africa, to compete at the highest level in cycling has been critical. I really hope that this will serve as a reference of hope and inspiration to many young South Africans, and people around the world, who have been working really hard to reach their dreams, my hope is that they take from this that anything is possible. I want to race the tour to inspire more kids on Qhubeka bikes to follow in my footsteps and to experience the world like I have, for more kids in communities to put their hands up for bikes to work hard like I did, to dream big. I am living my dream.” – Nic Dlamini
The 2021 Tour de France gets underway in Brest on 26 June and finishes on Paris on 18 July.