Nicholas Dlamini will become the first black South African to compete in the Tour de France when that race kicks off on June 26 after Qhubeka included the 25-year-old Captain in his squad on Friday.
Dlamini came through the UCI World Cycling Center in Africa in Potchefstroom to learn his skills in the development team after joining Qhubeka at their Italian base in Lucca.
“To be selected to participate in my first Tour de France is an absolute dream come true for me,” said Dlamini, who turned pro three years ago.
“It has always been an absolute childhood dream for me and now that I’m about to live it, it feels surreal to me,” the runner, who once had the ambition to be a runner, said on the website of the team.
“I think it talks about what the team is, the Ubuntu spirit, and how we change people’s lives because it’s honestly a very special moment: coming from a small town and then go to the Tour de France, ”said the man who has competed twice in La Vuelta and will also compete in the Olympics with the South African team.
“Considering where I’m from, it would simply have been impossible for me to have the opportunity to compete in the Tour de France without the Qhubeka ASSOS team,” said Dlamini, who added that he hoped he could be a source of inspiration for young South Africans.
# photo1Team principal Douglas Ryder hailed an “incredibly special” moment as the team was unveiled to include Dlamini.
“His story is just amazing and the fact that he earned this opportunity shows that dreams really do come true, and the fact that the team provided this opportunity makes me incredibly proud.
“His selection speaks to all that we have created and built with this team by offering hope, an opportunity and ultimately the platform to be on the biggest stage of all, the Tour de France. “
The team will make their seventh Tour appearance after their debut in 2015 and so far have seven stage victories.
Qhubeka will field two other Tour debutants: the American Sean Bennett, 25, and the Belgian Victor Campenaerts. The roster also includes former Vuelta champion Fabio Aru of Italy, Colombian Sergio Henao and Australian Simon Clarke.
© 2021 AFP