As the countdown towards an expected WorldTour licence announcement continues, MTN-Qhubeka, which will race as Team Dimension Data from next season, has announced the signing of Roger Hammond.
The former professional is joining the team as a directeur sportif, having worked recently with the Madison-Genesis team. The Briton had been team manager there since 2012.
According to the latter squad, he will continue in that capacity, splitting his time between the two roles.
Hammond raced as a pro between 1998 and 2011, winning stages in races such as the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Britain, and finishing second in the 2007 Gent-Wevelgem and third in the 2004 Paris-Roubaix.
“I am very excited to be joining this fantastic project,” he said. “With so many ex-teammates or managers within the team it feels like I’m returning to my family. Cycling has been so influential in the path my life has taken and the rich experiences I have enjoyed along the way.
“To be part of this project that not only focuses on giving riders the chance to achieve their dreams competitively but – by supporting Qhubeka – also giving children the chance of an education through the medium of the bike was an opportunity not to be missed.”
The team sees him bolstering tactics in one area in particular. “Given his Classics experience, he will be key to our African teams success during the Spring period.”
Team Dimension Data is due to meet with the UCI this week in relation to stepping up to the WorldTour. The squad had initially lodged an application for a Pro Continental licence but with only 17 WorldTour places applied for, there is a vacant slot.
The UCI Licence Commission invited it to submit paperwork and providing the application is in order, the team looks set to be approved for the top level in the sport.
Its prospects have been boosted by the announcement of an additional sponsor.
It announced Wednesday that it had come to an agreement with Sapinda Holding B.V., which is a global investment company with significant assets in Africa.
It will join Dimension Data and Deloitte as a major partner for 2016.
“We are incredibly excited to have Sapinda become a sponsor and partner of our team,” stated its principal, Douglas Ryder. “Their investment enables us to strengthen the development of African cycling and support of the Qhubeka charity.
“Thanks to partners like Sapinda we have been able to showcase the potential that exists in cycling on the African continent.”
The squad has made a number of big signings prior to 2016, including the most successful sprinter of the current era, Mark Cavendish.