La Vuelta a Espana: African underdogs start with incredible performance
The start of Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung’s first ever grand tour could not have gone any better. While Movistar came home fastest to win the stage and Cannondale and Orica-Greenedge were 2nd and 3rd respectively, Team MTN-Qhubeka blitzed home just 29 seconds down in 12th position.
Coming into the race as a wild card, Africa’s team were more or less expected to battle it out for the bottom 4 positions. This was not to be the case though. After being the only team to get shuttled to the start by horse and carriage, the Team MTN-Qhubeka riders hit the the course hard and fast.
Their 3 route recce’s after the past few days served the team well as they posted the first time of the day. Sitting on the bus watching the race we were expecting our time to tumble. When team after team finished and we had a faster time then they did, there was a huge eruption in jubilation.
“Stage 1 of the Vuelta Espana is done and dusted.”, MTN-Qhubeka rider Jay Thomson said “Our performance was incredible, we went out of the starting blocks like race horses.”
Director Sportif, Jens Zemke was satisfied with the result and said that he could have not asked for a better result.
He highlighted that some big world tour teams finished behind MTN-Qhubeka and even clubs like Sky were ahead of MTN-Qhubeka by only 2 seconds.
Really we could not have asked for a better result. “I am very happy with the boys performance and if you look at the crowds today, i don’t think you could have put more people on that course today. So we put on a great show and that is what we came to do.” Zemke said.