Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung of Africa has received a "wild card" entry to the 2015 Tour de France. Wild card entries are for smaller, lower-ranked teams and entry is at the discretion of the Tour de France organisers. Team MTN-Qhubeka was formed in 2007 to promote Qhubeka, an African non-profit organisation that donates bicycles to recipients who will use them to travel to school or to work. The organisation’s slogan is #BicyclesChangeLives. Qhubeka is World Bicycle Relief’s programme in South Africa.
Twenty-two teams that will participate in the 2015 Tour de France, including 17 World Tour teams. As well as MTN-Qhubeka the other wild card teams are Europcar, Cofidis, Bretagne-Seche Environnment and Bora-Argon 18.
2015 will be the first time an African registered team has taken part in the Tour de France, the world’s biggest annual sporting event.
Team principal Douglas Ryder said:
"I have been waiting my whole life for this news. The pressure over the years of getting partners and riders to believe in this dream is finally a reality. I know our riders and staff will be the most motivated team in the world right now ahead of our second training camp starting this weekend. We will not only ride in the Tour, we will compete and we will have the support of the whole continent behind us."
Qhubeka executive director Sarah Phaweni said:
“This is proof that any dream is possible if you keep moving forward. The team has supported and raised awareness for the work we do as a non-profit for many years. It is great to have the chance to return the favour as we cheer for an African Team in the Tour de France.”
Team MTN-Qhubeka was founded in 2007, steadily working its way up from a regional team to now being a Continental Pro team with bases in South Africa and Italy. MTN-Qhubeka’s goal is to give talented African riders a path into the pro peloton while raising funds for the Qhubeka charity.
Qhubeka is Zulu word that means “to carry on”, “to progress”, “to move forward”. Qhubeka helps people move forward and progress by giving bicycles in return for work done to improve communities, the environment or academic results.