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The 247km Gent-Wevelgem got off to a blustery start, with strong winds blowing from the gun in Ypres. Initially 4 riders rode clear of the peloton, building a lead of over 9 minutes in the first 40km. However, with a change in route direction, there was a big attack in the peloton, in the crosswinds.
25 riders went clear with more than 180km to go! Giacomo Nizzolo was attentive as ever and made the front split for Team Qhubeka ASSOS (www.TeamQhubeka.com). The early escapees were caught in no time at all and the lead group pressed on ahead of the chasing peloton.
The gap hovered between 30 – 50 seconds for what seemed like an eternity, as the riders battled the wind and hills in the Flanders fields. It was only really after the final ascent of the famous Kemmelberg, with 35km to go, that it seemed the Nizzolo's front group would go all the way.
The lead group had whittled down significantly though, leaving only the strongest 7 riders in the race to do battle in the final 15km, Nizzolo being one of them. Coming into the finale, Nizzolo was 7th wheel when the sprint launched and our Italian & European champ came from behind with speed, to pass all but Van Aert, who took a good win.
Giacomo Nizzolo – Team Qhubeka ASSOS
“It was a crazy race today with the bunch splitting really early. We found really collaboration among the front group from the beginning of the action. In the end it was a really hard race, and the legs were tired, so it was a strange sprint, with a tailwind. I decided to take the sprint from last position, I don’t know if it was the right decision but that’s what I did and I did my best, so I am happy. This is an important result for our team and the Qhubeka Charity. Bicycles change lives, and it is so important for us to bring this message to such an important race as today.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Team Qhubeka ASSOS.
Jean Smyth (Head of Communications)
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +27 63 4701 1710 or +31 625 739 033
About Team Qhubeka ASSOS:
Team Qhubeka ASSOS is a purpose-led, high-performance team, fighting to win on the world's biggest stage, to inspire hope and create opportunity. Founded in 2007, Team Qhubeka ASSOS (formerly NTT Pro Cycling) became the first-ever African cycling team to gain a UCI WorldTour license, in 2016.
We achieved our first major win in 2013 when Gerald Ciolek won Milan-San Remo, one of the five Monuments of cycling. We have competed in six Tour de France’s and notched up 7 stage wins, with Mark Cavendish wearing the coveted Yellow Jersey at the 2016 Tour de France.
We are a multicultural, diverse team with bases in South Africa, the Netherlands and Italy. There are 19 nationalities represented across our World Tour and continental feeder team rosters. Our focus on developing African cycling has resulted in more than 55 riders from the African continent be given the opportunity to race on the world stage, since the team's inception.
We race to help people to move forward with bicycles through our relationship with Qhubeka Charity. Through our work with Qhubeka, we have contributed to the distribution of over 30 000 bicycles in communities in South Africa.
Qhubeka is a charity that moves people forward with bicycles. People earn bicycles through our programmes, improving their access to schools, clinics and jobs.
A bicycle is a tool that helps people to travel faster and further, and to carry more. In the face of extreme and persistent poverty, bicycles can change lives by helping to address socioeconomic challenges at the most basic level – helping people to get where they need to go.
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