We are delighted to confirm our Dimension Data for Qhubeka continental team is set for its 4th full season based in Europe, in 2019. In what has become a clear pathway for African riders to the World Tour, we are excited for the journey that awaits our 11-rider class of 2019.
In the last three seasons alone, no less than five African riders have graduated to the professional ranks from our feeder team. Stefan de Bod is our latest success story having secured a neo-pro contract with our World Tour team in 2019, joining fellow alumni, Ryan Gibbons, Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier and Nicholas Dlamini.
For the 2019 season, our squad will comprise of 6 African riders, 4 of which are new additions to the feeder team. 20-year-old Connor Brown from South Africa, 19-year-old Natnael Tesfazion from Eritrea, and 19-year-old Mulu Hailemichael and 20-year-old Million Beza from Ethiopia.
Both heading into their 3rd seasons with us, 2018 Tour of Rwanda champion Samuel Mugisha and our punchy Moroccan sprinter, El Mehdi Chokri will look to make the most of their final year as u23 riders.
For the 2nd year in succession, our continental feeder team will be registered in Italy and based out of our service course in Lucca. The registration with the FCI and support from CONI allows our African riders to obtain sport permits, without which, racing for the full season in Europe is nearly impossible for most African riders.
As an Italian registered team though, it is mandatory that we have at least four Italian riders on our squad and so we are delighted to welcome back Matteo Sobrero and Luca Mozzato for the 2019 season. They will be joined by the talented 20-year-old duo of Alexander Konychev and Samuele Battistella.
The final rider on our roster is the Slovenian Zwift Academy winner, Martin Laveric. Laveric was one of 30 000 Zwift Academy entrants, who contributed to 850 Qhubeka bicycles being donated to kids in Africa. The 19-year-old was awarded his contract after winning the Zwift Academy final which took place at our 2019 World Tour team training camp in Cape Town last November.
In one final coup for our feeder team, we are happy to welcome former Italian professional and 2002 u23 World Champion, Francesco Chicci as Sports Director of Dimension Data for Qhubeka Continental in 2019.
Naturally, while allowing our young riders to develop and improve, we also hope to achieve success in the races we compete in and we are hoping for victories in European and African events in 2019. Kevin Campbell - Team Manager