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by Shane Stokes
September 30, 2015
Photography by Cor Vos
Australian rider Nathan Haas and the Spaniard Omar Fraile are the two latest signings to the MTN-Qhubeka/Team Dimension Data lineup for 2016, joining Mark Cavendish, Mark Renshaw and Bernhard Eisel in coming on board.
Haas has been racing with the Cannondale-Garmin team for the past four seasons, winning the Japan Cup twice, clocking up other results and helping his team-mates to their own successes.
“I’m incredibly excited to join the team because I feel that it, on the most inherent level, represents the true global and worldwide reach that professional cycling is moving in.
“Not only does the team compete at the highest level of the sport, it translate our love of sport across all aspects of cycling, weighing equal importance on the bike as a necessity of transport, environment, and sport.”
The latter statement refers to the team’s work with the Qhubeka charity, which aims to greatly boost the number of African children on bikes.
“The team has shown to be a team that races – and truly races, not rides – at every event they participate in, and they do so with their hearts and pride on their sleeves. I’m proud of the opportunity to get to be a part of this team, and hopefully create opportunities for my teammates and myself that further demonstrate that racing from the hearts can win the hearts of the world.”
The 26 year old rejoins Tyler Farrar, with whom he raced at Cannondale-Garmin until the beginning of this year. This too is a motivation.
“To be back with Tyler, what can I say? He’s one of my best friends in the sport and I’ve missed racing with him. So to be back together is just huge! He’s a great captain and morale booster for any team so we are all lucky to be riding with him.”
The team’s general manager Brian Smith says that Haas exemplifies the type of rider the team is about. “A great personality and willing to race aggressively. This type of visibility in races is very important to our Bicycles Change Lives campaign.
“I think his style of racing will compliment another couple of our team riders and elevate them to more success together.”
Fraile comes to the team from another Pro Continental outfit, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA. He had a superb 2015 season, winning the King of the Mountains compeititon in the Vuelta a España, and also taking the same prize in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. His other victories were the Giro dell’Appennino and on stage four of the Four Days of Dunkirk.
“Going into La Vuelta I thought we should look out for Omar Fraile,” said Smith. “It did not take long for Omar to shine as he obtained the King of the Mountains jersey after stage three and kept it all the way to the end.
“Having met Omar in Andorra during La Vuelta I could see a young talented rider with a great passion to succeed. We look forward to developing his talent even further and look forward to integrating Omar into our climbing group.”
Fraile will add to the team’s climbing strength. He said that he was exited to compete for the squad and to take the next step.
“I have had a great year and I only can thank my current team, Yet, for my development as a rider I feel like it’s time to move on. This team will help me stepping up.
“I will do my best to live up to the team’s expectations. It would be great to get some good results in stage races and On the personal side, I want to achieve good results in stage races and help to put more children in rural areas in Africa on bikes through my performances.”
The team has also confirmed that what it terms the core group will renew. The riders who will stay on board are the Norwegian national road race champion Edvald Boasson Hagen, as well as Tour de France stage winner Steve Cummings, Vuelta a España stage victor Kristian Sbaragli, Tyler Farrar, Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Daniel Teklehaimanot, Merhawi Kudus, Serge Pauwels and the Eritrean national road race champion Natnael Berhane.
Many of those were on the team’s Tour de France squad.
Australian rider Matt Goss is not mentioned as renewing. He’s had a quiet season on the team and appears to be departing.