Nic Dlamini will make history when he becomes the first-ever Black South African to ride the Tour de France when he sets off from Brest in a week's time.
The 25-year-old has previously ridden two editions of the Vuelta a España but will be making his debut at the French Grand Tour as part of a Qhubeka ASSOS squad that also features hour-record holder Victor Campenaerts and Spanish Grand Tour winner Fabio Aru.
"Being selected to ride in my first Tour de France is an absolute dream come true for me. It’s always been an absolute childhood dream for me and now that I’m about to live it makes it feel surreal...to come from a small township and then to go to the Tour de France," Dlamini said.
"Considering where I come from it would simply have been impossible for me to have the opportunity to ride at the Tour de France if it wasn’t for Team Qhubeka ASSOS. The platform that they’ve provided me, and other riders from Africa, to compete at the highest level in cycling has been critical."
Dlamini is likely to be the only black rider participating in this year's Tour, as Kévin Reza won't be on the start line and recently announced he intends to retire at the end of the season.
"I really hope that this will serve as a reference of hope and inspiration to many young South Africans, and people around the world, who have been working really hard to reach their dreams," Dlamini continued. "My hope is that they take from this that anything is possible."
"For Nic, what a moment though; his story is simply an incredible one and for him to have earned this opportunity shows that dreams really do come true, and for the team to have provided that opportunity makes me incredibly proud," added team principal Doug Ryder.
"He’s always been an individual that has stepped up and taken the opportunities that he’s fought for, and he does so again as he lines up at the startline in Brest on the sport’s biggest stage in front of the world. This will culminate in an incredible moment for him, South Africa and especially for our team."
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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