Cycling South Africa is very proud to share in the announcements from the professional peloton that South African riders Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge), Louis Meintjes (Lampre Merida) and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka) will be taking part in the 103rd edition of Le Tour de France, which kicks off with a 188-kilometre stage from Mont-Saint-Michel to Utah Beach Sainte-Marie-du-Mont on Saturday 2 July.
Africa will once again be well represented at the Tour with Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eritrea) and Natnael Berhane (Eritrea) joining Reinardt Janse van Rensburg as part of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and Tsgabu Grmay (Ethiopia) riding with Louis Meintjes in Team Lampre Merida. Along with Daryl Impey riding for Orica-GreenEdge, the African presence will be felt throughout this gruelling 3 week event.
Over the years, the iconic and gruelling three-week cycle tour has seen Robbie Hunter as the first South African to compete in the 2001 event, and to win a stage in 2007. Ex-professional cyclist John-Lee Augustyn competed in Le Tour in 2008 for Barloworld and finished in sixth place in the Mountains Classification and seventh in the Young Riders’ Classification. Daryl Impey more recently made international cycling headlines when he became the first South African to wear the coveted yellow jersey in 2013. 2015 witnessed the first time that a South African registered UCI Pro Continental team, Team MTN-Qhubeka powered by Samsung, was given a wildcard entry in the glamorous event, with South Africans Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Louis Meintjes and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, taking part.
Although not South African but flying the flag for Africa’s team, Daniel Teklehaimanot (ERI) became the first African rider to don the Polka Dot climber’s jersey on stage six and only the third African ever to wear a leader’s jersey at the Tour de France; and Stephen Cummings’ (GBR) memorable solo victory on the 14th stage on Mandela Day will long remain in our memories.
Cycling SA President, William Newman, said: “Congratulations to all the riders on their selection to participate in this year’s Le Tour de France. The atmosphere at an event of this stature is one that cannot be described. Le Tour is arguably one of the greatest celebrations of cycling in the world and for three weeks, even non-cyclists are glued to their TV screens for riveting cycling action over spectacular scenery. It is also a milestone for African Cycling to have such a diverse representation from the African Continent at the Tour with the participation of South African, Eritrean and Ethiopian riders.
“On behalf of the Executive and Management Committees, we are extremely proud of your selection and wish you all the very best when you roll off the start line in Mont-Saint-Michel on Saturday.”