What's Cool In Road Cycling

MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung in north France for first ASO race

Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung is heading to France for its first race organized by ASO, which also organizes the Tour de France, as it takes on the Tour de Picardie (May 10-12 / UCI 2.1). The first African-based Professional Continental team will look to young Italian sprinter Kristian Sbaragli in northern France.

“Tour de Picardie is a very important race for the team as it is the first ASO race we have been invited to participate in,” said team principal Doug Ryder. “We want to show the ASO that our African team is very competitive even though we don’t have a full team of riders suited for the type of race it is as we have mostly climbers going but the team will be present and attentive in all the stages. I am hoping our young Italian Kristian Sbaragli will do well in the sprints”.

In addition to Italian Kristian Sbaragli, the team is sending South Africans Bradley Potgieter, Martin Wesemann, Louis Meintjes, and Songezo Jim, Algerian Youcef Reguigui, Eritrean Meron Russon, and Spanish climber Sergio Pardilla.

The three-day race, which has been held for more than 75 years, is traditionally one for the sprinters, and exposes the peloton to a lot of wind on the mostly flat terrain. While all three stages feature climbs, none are ranked.

The first stage runs 189.9km from Guise to Flixecourt, and the second stage 171km from Oisemont to Bailleul-sur-Thérain, featuring three small climbs. The races ends Sunday with 171km between Nanteuil-le-Haudouin and Soissons. All three stages are expected to end in mass sprints.

Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will face strong sprinting competition in the race. Last year’s winner, John Degenkolb of Argos-Shimano, will look to repeat his victory, but will come up against, amongst others, Arnaud Demare of FdJ, who recently dominated the Four Days of Dunkirk.

Race information: https://www.letour.fr/indexTDO_fr.html.

Tour de Picardie (May 10-12 / UCI 2.1):
Kristian Sbaragli (ITA), Bradley Potgieter (RSA), Martin Wesemann (RSA), Louis Meintjes (RSA), Songezo Jim (RSA), Youcef Reguigui (ALG), Meron Russom (ERI), Sergio Pardilla (SPA).

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