Tour de France to have African team

South African team MTN-Qhubeka handed wildcard as the event looks set to feature an African team for the first time.

    Five teams have been handed wildcards for the 73rd edition of the race [REUTERS]
    Five teams have been handed wildcards for the 73rd edition of the race [REUTERS]

    The Tour de France will include an African team for the first time this year after race organisers offered MTN-Qhubeka a wildcard entry.

    The South African outfit were one of five teams handed wildcards for the 73rd edition of the race to complement the 17 Union Cycliste International (UCI) teams automatically selected.

    MTN-Qhubeka, whose black and white striped kit resembles that of Italian soccer club Juventus, are the largest professional multi-discipline team on the African continent and made their Grand Tour debut in last year's Vuelta.

    Their rider list includes Eritrea's 24-year-old Natnael Berhane, twice African champion, while several South Africans are also on the roster.

    The team, backed by South Korean electronics giant Samsung, helps to promote the work of the Qhubeka project which has distributed bicycles to children in rural African communities since 2004.

    The UCI has also included the team in the starting list for the Criterium du Dauphine.

    German team Bora-Argon 18 and French outfits Bretagne-Seche Environnement, Cofidis and Team Europcar have also received wildcards for the Tour.

    SOURCE: AP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.