Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will make its European debut in Trofeo Laigueglia on Saturday. The race will be a historic event as the team lines up in Europe for the first time as Africa’s first ever UCI Professional Continental team.
“This race is a nice way to start our season with it starting at the sea and it usually has a great atmosphere and a lot of big names on the start list,” said head Directeur Sportif, Jens Zemke. “The pressure is low for us, but the motivation is high. For half of the team it will be the first time they race with big teams and some famous stars, which were their idols growing up. Some teams, the media and the crowd will be surprised when they see how professional our setup is and I think we’ll bring some new colour to the cycling peloton.”
The race takes place over a distance of 196 kilometres. The team riding the event has been preparing for it and other up coming races at a two-week training camp in Lucca.
“Training has been great so far,” said captain Gerald Ciolek. “We started with riding many kilometers in South Africa in December then I had 3 good weeks of training in Mallorca just after New Year and right now we’re at the training camp with the team in Lucca, Italy.”
“There’s just 8 riders here in Lucca, and we’re the 8 who will be sticking together for the next races. What I’ve seen so far from the level of the guys makes me excited for the future. I think we can head into the next few races with confidence.
“It’s the first race but all the big races follow a week later so I hope to be ready and to be competitive in Laigueglia,” concluded Ciolek.
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung – Trofeo Laigueglia: Gerald Ciolek, Ferekalsi Debesay, Ignatas Konovalovas, Andreas Stauff, Martin Reimer, Youcef Reguigui, Kristian Sbaragli, Johann Van Zyl
Staff: Jens Zemke (Directeur Sportif), Bastian Buffel (Soigneur), Hagen Bernutz ((Soigneur), Daniele Nieri (Mechanic), Heiko Heinrici, (Mechanic).