On Friday, May 5, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will take the start at the 100th edition of Giro d’Italia. Our African Team brings a strong roster eager to fight for glory in Italy during the next three weeks of hard racing.

This year’s Giro d’Italia is set to be one for the yearbooks. Not only is it the centenary edition of the race, it also presents one of the strongest fields in many years. The course is beautifully designed with the opening stages on the islands of Sardinia and Sicily before moving in-land to take on the remaining part of the race.

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka lines up for its second Giro d’Italia with a strong team ready to shine on all terrain. Igor Antón, Natnael Berhane and Omar Fraile will have their say in the mountains, while Kristian Sbaragli and our young South African debutant Ryan Gibbons will be the cards to play in the sprints. Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Daniel Teklehaimanot and Johann van Zyl will be important players for setting up their teammates and trying their own luck in the breaks, while Nathan Haas will have a chance to fight for glory in the undulating stages.

The first three stages look to be a matter for the sprinters, even though stage two may produce a surprise winner with a late climb before a long descent towards the finishing line. After these three opening stages, the riders get their first rest day as they fly to Sicily to continue the race with a difficult mountain top finish on the Etna volcano. Two of the following four stages are made for the sprinters, while the other two both include a short uphill finish to shake things up. Another day in the mountains awaits on stage nine before the riders can enjoy yet another rest day. This time, however, they really need it in order to recharge the batteries before the 39.8 km long individual time trial on stage 10, which will have a huge impact on the general classification. The following day is an undulating stage to Bagno di Romagna, which could easily see a strong break make it all the way. The sprinters will have their final chance to shine in stage 12 and 13 before the race moves into the mountains, where it stays until the very last day.

Stage 14 finishes with a 12 km long ascent up to the iconic Oropa sanctuary, while the following stage pays homage to Giro il Lombardia as the peloton takes on the same course on the final 50 km as in the Italian one-day race. Afterwards follows the final rest day of the race and, once again, the riders really need it. Stage 16 is without a doubt one of the hardest stages in this year’s Giro d’Italia – if not the hardest one. With the three infamous climbs; Mortirolo, Passo dello Stelvio and Umbrailpass on the menu, one simply can’t afford to have a bay day this grueling Tuesday.

Stage 17 is another hilly day in the saddle for the riders but it’s not as difficult as the previous stage or as the two mountain top finishes that follow. The penultimate stage of the race includes two challenging category 1 climbs, which serves as the final chance for the climbers to move up in the general classification. However, nothing is settled until the last rider crosses the finishing line on the 29.3 km flat time trial from the Formula 1 course in Monza to the heart of Milano with a beautiful finish on Piazza Duomo.

Lineup: Igor Antón, Natnael Berhane, Omar Fraile, Ryan Gibbons, Nathan Haas, Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Kristian Sbaragli, Daniel Teklehaimanot and Johann Van Zyl.

Douglas Ryder – Team Principle
It is a privilege to be a part of the centenary Giro d’Italia for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and we are looking forward to a spectacular race. We are really happy to take a very strong team to the Giro including 5 African riders, one of which is Ryan Gibbons, our young South African who will make his grand tour debut. This is something incredibly special for him but it also shows this team has come an incredibly long way. We have a deep passion for the Giro d’Italia and Italian cycling, and as a team we have committed to racing the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia to put 100 girls on bicycles through Qhubeka. #Giro100Girls

Bingen Fernandez – Sport Director
This centenary Giro has a demanding parcour, particularly in the last week where the GC will certainly be decided. Before this tough final week though, there are numerous opportunities for the riders to try to win a stage. Some of those stages are pure sprint stages but others have that “little something”, typically Italian style stages which will generate some exciting finales. Our team will fight for these early stage victories but we’ll also look to use the experience of Igor Anton, who will start his 18th 3-week grand tour, together with Omar Fraile who has proven himself in the last week of a grand tour to achieve a big result.