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As anticipated in recent weeks, Dimension Data has been unveiled as the new title sponsor of the MTN Qhubeka team and will back the African team as it aims to step up to the next level.
The team rode its first Tour de France this year and achieved considerable success, with Steve Cummings wining stage 14 on Mandela day, Daniel Teklehaimanot wearing the King of the Mountains jersey for four days and the squad netting a superb fifth overall in the teams classification.
It is expected to make a number of high profile signings, with 26-time Tour stage winner Mark Cavendish strongly rumoured to be coming on board.
The Dimension Data signing gives it the stability to plan forward and, when the time is right, push for its stated aim of stepping up to WorldTour level.
“We are incredibly excited to have Dimension Data become our new title partner,” said Team Principal Douglas Ryder. “It enables us to continue to support the development of African cycling and the Qhubeka charity at the highest levels in world cycling.
“Cycling is such a high tech sport, and we’ve leveraged technology and data through our high performance team to build the bridge from racing in Africa to competing successfully against the best in the world on the global race calendar.
“Partnering with Dimension Data supports us more in this area, and will also help us be more connected with our growing fan base around the world. This is the next step in our journey and we look forward to accelerating our collective ambitions through this partnership.”
Dimension Data had already played a smaller partnership role with the team this season. It also became the Official Technology Partner of A.S.O., and had a crucial role in collecting and analysing rider tracking data.
“Dimension Data is proud to become the new title partner of this amazing African team,” said Brett Dawson, the company’s CEO. “We’re a global technology organisation, and because the team leverages technology – both on and off the bike – our joint goal is to take the team and African cycling to new heights.
“In addition, we want to help develop African riders into professional cyclists who will compete in some of the greatest cycling events on the African continent and across the world.”
Even if the team opts to spend another season as a Pro Continental team, its superb 2015 Tour campaign plus Dimension Data’s links with ASO and the Tour would make a wildcard slot seem a formality.
The company said that it would support the team’s work with the Qhubeka foundation and World Bicycle Relief, which is aiming to put more children across the African continent on bicycles.
Details about the team’s new signings are expected to be made soon. If the indications pan out, this will see Cavendish and his leadout man Mark Renshaw come on board.