Africa Sends First Team to Tour de France
Africa’s cyclists can have the same impact on the grand Tours as its runners had on Olympic tracks, the man behind the continent’s first Tour de France team believes. South African Douglas Ryder formed the MTN-Qhubeka professional team in 2007 and has made it his mission to build a roster made up predominantly of African riders.
The team received a wildcard for this year’s Tour and while it would be fanciful to suggest all those wearing the distinctive black and white stripes at the start in Utrecht, the Netherlands, will be Africans, it is still a breakthrough moment.
“I believe in the potential of the endurance gene that is very prominent across this continent and we wanted to get more Africans and South Africans on to bicycles and see how far they can go. Can they become the best in the world?” he ponders. “I wouldn’t be surprised in the next three years that a black African rider will be on the podium in a Grand Tour.”