First stage victory in the bag for Africa’s MTN-Qhubeka

Team MTN-Qhubeka’s Steve Cummings (GBR) claimed victory in the 14th stage of Le Tour de France with a dramatic finish on an airstrip on the outskirts of the picturesque village of Mende, today. Photo: supplied Team MTN-Qhubeka

Team MTN-Qhubeka’s Steve Cummings (GBR) claimed victory in the 14th stage of Le Tour de France with a dramatic finish on an airstrip on the outskirts of the picturesque village of Mende, today. Photo: supplied Team MTN-Qhubeka

Team MTN-Qhubeka’s Steve Cummings (GBR) claimed victory in the 14th stage of Le Tour de France with a dramatic finish on an airstrip on the outskirts of the picturesque village of Mende, today.

With 1km to go, Cummings overtook Frenchmen Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) at a flying pace as the finish stretch descended with flowing sweeping corners. Cummings navigated to perfection and had time to sit up and victory salute with the customary MTN-Qhubeka five-finger salute – Team MTN-Qhubeka’s drive since the start of the season to get 5000 school children on bicycles for the Qhubeka foundation in the #bicycleschangelives campaign.

The victory for the African team was made even sweeter as the nation celebrated today, the 18th July, as Mandela Day in honour of the late former President Nelson Mandela and the 67 years that he spent working to make the world a better place.

Team Management called the victory at the start of the stage saying that the team plan was to get Cummings into the breakaway and set him up for the victory. All credit still lies with Cummings who had to do the hard yards to get himself back into contention after numerous attacks.

Cycling SA President, William Newman, said: “We knew something big would happen. We knew that they were up to the performance of a world-class standard. It is incredible to achieve the stage win for the team in their first ’Tour – it is what they had planned for and we are exceptionally proud. How fitting that it should happen on Mandela Day to honour a great former leader. It is fantastic for the country and the continent.”

*The 102nd edition of Le Tour de France starts from Saturday 4 July until Sunday 26 July 2015 and is made up of 21 stages covering a total distance of 3360km. The stages will be made up of nine flat stages, three hill stages, seven mountain stages with five high altitude finishes, one individual time trial stage, one team time trial stage and two rest days.