Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka are set to get our 2018 European campaign underway, starting the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in Spain on Wednesday, 31 January. The UCI 2.1 category race will once again comprise of 5 stages, with a 30km team time trial stage, splitting 4 road stages.
Our African Team has once again chosen the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana as our first European race of the season. Last year, who could forget Merhawi Kudus phenomenal ride on the queen stage of the race to finish 2nd, just behind Nairo Quintana (Movistar). Our Eritrean climber returns this year, hoping to repeat his performance of last year, together with fellow climbers Igor Anton and Serge Pauwels.
Bernie Eisel, Scott Thwaites, Nic Dougall and Johann van Zyl will complete our 7-rider roster for the 5 stage race. Their fire power will certainly come in handy during stage 3’s 30km team time trial, a stage which is sure to play a pivotal role in deciding the overall general classification. Stage 2 and the summit finish on stage 4 are where the climbers will look to gain or make-up time in the mountains.
The opening and closing stage both suit the fast finishers, but the ever undulating roads around Valencia do provide opportunists with a real chance of stealing the stage, or at least reducing the bunch somewhat before a possible group sprint. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will look to our climbers for strong results in the mountains and in the general classification, while the likes of Thwaites, Dougall and van Zyl could fancy their chances on the undulating stages.
Igor Anton – Rider
I’m really looking forward to starting the new season with Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, for me it will be my 14th season as a professional and I am sure it is going to be amazing. I start in Volta Valenciana, a race I know very well. The weather is normally very good and I know these roads. I don’t come to this race with my best shape, but many riders are in the same place at this point in the season and overall we have a good team starting here so for sure we have chances to get a good result. I am happy to be starting the season at this nice race which is close to my home once again.