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Victor Campenaerts raced to an incredible 3rd stage win at this year's Giro d'Italia for Team Qhubeka ASSOS (www.TeamQhubeka.com), at today's stage 15 ending in Gorizia. This victory followed his teammates, Mauro Schmid and Giacomo Nizzolo, triumphs on stages 11 and 13 respectively.
Team Qhubeka ASSOS, already having it's best ever Giro d'Italia, started the 147km stage 15 with clear intentions to continue building on that success. From the gun, Campenaerts and teammate Max Walscheid were the first two riders to attack. After getting an initial gap, the race was then neutralized due to a mass crash in the peloton, which included Mauro Schmid. The young Swiss star was able to continue and finish but he suffered from multiple abrasions to his right side.
Fortunately, most of the riders that went down, were without serious injury, and able to continue. When racing got underway for a second time, it was again Campenaerts and Walscheid who were first to attack. This time a third Qhubeka ASSOS rider also got involved though, as Lukasz Wisniowski infiltrated the front group too.
15 riders forced themselves clear from the peloton and quickly built a race winning lead. With three riders up the road, Qhubeka ASSOS were in a favourable position despite being closely marked.
Coming toward the race finale, Walscheid, Wisniowski and Campenaerts began attacking and counter-attacking the break as the group did contain a strong mix of climbers and sprinters, who were possiblyon paper at leasr favoured for victory ahead of the Qhubeka ASSOS trio. However, it was the team work that proved the greatest asset on the day as the Belgian UCI world hour record holder managed to escape with two others in tow, Albert Torres (Movistar) and Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin-Fenix), with 23km to go.
Campenaerts and Riesebeek were able to dislodge Torres on the final climb, as the rain came pouring down, adding further drama over the closing kilometers. From the top of the climb, the duo held onto a 15 second gap over their nearest chasers, and despite attacking each other a couple of times each, they went on to decide the stage in a two-up sprint.
Campenaerts had that extra kick in the legs to take a brilliant win, his first ever Grand Tour stage victory of his career.
I've been chasing a WorldTour, and specifically a Grand Tour, stage win for so long; having been four times second, twice third, once fifth, and I've always targeted victories in time trials. I've come so close but I decided to change how I race and focus more aggressively on racing on the road bike, and focusing a little less focus on the TT.
I am at my first Grand Tour with another objective and we've already had two victories with the team here. I can't say that I helped Mauro that much in the break for his win but I helped Nizzolo for his victory and now I helped myself to a big victory – what a day! I had big, big help from the whole team especially Max and Wizzy, who were also in the break with me.
For two years we've speaking about Ubuntu in the team – I am because we are – which is about riding as a team. We cannot go alone, we're stronger as a team together, and the spirit we have in the Giro is building up to an even greater spirit. Our mission as a team is to change lives with bicycles and the Qhubeka Charity, these successes mean that we play our part in changing the world.
I also hope that these victories is great exposure for the team, to keep the team alive for the future. It hasn't been easy to keep it alive and we needed this, so I am just so happy.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Team Qhubeka ASSOS.
Jean Smyth (Head of Communications)
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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