South Africa’s MTN-Qhubeka gea

South Africa’s MTN-Qhubeka gears up for Tour de France

Team MTN-Qhubeka is the first South African registered team and African team to take part in the Tour de France which gets underway this Saturday.

South Africa’s MTN-Qhubeka gea

The MTN-Qhubeka squad consists of 11 riders (nine riders and two reserves), three of which are South Africans.


Louis Meintjes from Pretoria, Jacques Janse van Rensburg from Gauteng and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg from Virginia are the three riders doing South Africa proud.

Team principal Doug Ryder said riders from Africa have learnt a great deal from their five international colleagues.

“If you talk to any of the riders in our team, they will tell you that the European riders have helped them fast-track them to victory,” he told Eyewitness News.

“The reason why we’re not 100 percent from Africa is that the international rider group have an amazing amount of experience and knowledge and mentorship that they can bring to us as African riders.”

Team MTN-Qhubeka received a wild card to participate in the 2015 Tour de France on 14 January. This marks the first time in the 101 year history of the race that a team from Africa will participate.

SA government not recognising MTN Qhubeka’s success

Ryder told Eyewitness News that he is disappointed by the lack of support and recognition for MTN-Qhubeka’s achievements, particularly from the Sports Ministry.

“The fact that we’re going to the Tour de France and they haven’t acknowledged our existence from the sporting ranks specifically, for me it’s kind of saddening and I wonder why it’s happening,” he said.

“You don’t do it every year and this a historic moment for world cycling but it’s not big enough and which for me it’s very sad.”

Qhubeka – to move forward 

MTN-Qhubeka promotes the Qhubeka Foundation’s work in giving bikes to rural villages. In isiXhosa, qhubeka means to move forward. According to Qhubeka’s website, over eight million children walk to school each day and more than two million walk for longer than 30 minutes each way.

Two Africans competed individually in the Tour de France in 2013. Daryl Impey was the first South African to hold a yellow jersey and Kenyan Chris Froome, who was born to British parents, went on to win the race. South Africa’s previous biggest success in the Tour came in 2007 when Robert Hunter became the only African cyclist to have won a stage.