The news, as reported on the team’s website, comes as the squad announced the signing of HotChillee development rider Nicholas Dlamini, who has been mentored by Ben Swift and Stephen Roche.
Interim General Manager Brian Smith says invitations to the ASO-run season opening races in the Middle East show that the team is getting closer to its ambitions of receiving a wildcard for the Tour de France.
“The main target for the team and its partners is the Tour de France in 2015,” he said. “To be invited to Qatar and Oman by the ASO (organisers of the Tour de France) confirms to us that we are going in the right direction.
“These events are very important races for the team and we plan to go there and race hard. It sets up a year that could be a very good year for the team as we continue to create history for African cycling.”
MTN-Qhubeka has gone about adding strength to its squad for the 2015 season, with Edvald Boasson Hagen, Tyler Farrar, Matt Goss and Steve Cummings headlining the arrivals, with rumours that the team could be bumped up to WorldTour status should the UCI need to make up the numbers.
South African rider Dlamini also joins the squad having been discovered in the HotChillee Development Rider Programme in 2013.
He said: “I am also grateful to everyone that has helped me to get to where I am today, without all the positive structured people I wouldn’t have been where I am now. I am now a role model to up coming stars and have to lead by example. Racing will also help me improve my riding and make me mentally strong. I am looking forward to 2015.”
Team Sky’s Swift added: “I knew when I met Nicholas for the first time last year how enormously talented he was. It was a fantastic humbling experience to be part of a mentoring programme.”
Current 2015 Team MTN-Qhubeka Line-up
Daniel Teklehaimanot, Merhawi Kudus, Natnael Berhane (ERI)
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Songezo Jim, Jay Thomson, Jaco Venter, Nicolas Dougall, Louis Meintjes, Johann van Zyl (RSA)
Youcef Reguigui (ALG)
Adrien Niyonshuti (RWA)
Gerald Ciolek, Andreas Stauff (GER)
Kristian Sbaragli (ITA)
Theo Bos (NED)
Tyler Farrar (USA)
Serge Pauwels (BEL)
Stephen Cummings (GBR)
Edvald Boassen-Hagen (NOR)
Matthew Goss (AUS)
More on MTN-Qhubeka
After a fruitless final season with Team Sky, Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen swaps to the African MTN-Qhubeka outfit for 2015
History is made as MTN-Qhubeka start the 2014 Vuelta a Espana on Saturday
African team MTN-Qhubeka came away with 15 wins in 2013, including Milan-San Remo. More success is planned for 2014
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.
Robbie McEwen backs Jai Hindley to deliver at the Vuelta a España
Australian commentator predicting an aggressive final Grand Tour of the season but backs Hindley to come out on top
By Tom Thewlis • Published
Nairo Quintana withdraws from Vuelta a España: 'I will assert my reasons before the Court of Arbitration for Sport'
The UCI announced the Colombian had tested positive for tramadol twice at the Tour de France, and has been retroactively disqualified
By Ryan Dabbs • Published
Fabio Aru officially signs for Qhubeka-Assos as he looks to reboot his career
Fabio Aru finally announces that he will be joining Qhubeka-Assos for the 2021 season after several transfer rumours went around
By Tim Bonville-Ginn • Published
'Cycling has been my life for 20 years': Enrico Gasparrotto calls time on his career at 38
Enrico Gasparotto has announced his retirement from professional cycling at the age of 38 after a very successful career spanning 16 years for eight teams, winning various races
By Tim Bonville-Ginn • Published
‘I’m still coming to terms with what happened’: Nic Dlamini responds after having his arm broken by park rangers
Nic Dlamini says he’s still “coming to terms with what happened” after he was injured by park rangers during an altercation over Christmas.
By Alex Ballinger • Published