Team Qhubeka NextHash, Africa’s top cycling team, has confirmed that their hopes for the 2022 World Tour are over.
At the beginning of December, the team had rejected its application for a place in the top racing bike class for next year by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).
Despite this setback, the team had continued to look for sponsors to overturn the decision of the licensing commission of the World Cycling Federation.
“We are deeply saddened to confirm that our hopes of competing as the UCI World Tour team in 2022 are over,” the team said in a statement.
“This follows an extensive global search at this unprecedented time to secure the team’s long-term future.
“In the past few days, our last chance to continue at this level could not be completed, so it was decided to cease World Tour operations as of December 31, 2021.
“This is an extremely disappointing moment for our organization.”
Moments of Success
However, the team will continue to compete in the second division of global cycling.
“Team Qhubeka will continue to operate as the UCI Continental team based in Italy in 2022, with the aim of returning to the top group in the near future,” the statement said.
“Our support for the Qhubeka Charity has been unwavering, and we have raised significant funding and attention to date. Further details will be communicated in due course.”
The South Africa-based team missed a license application deadline in October due to difficulty finding sponsors and unable to register directly from the UCI.
Founded in 2007, the team not only tries to promote African cyclists, but also raises awareness and donations for Qhubeka, a charity that raises money to provide bicycles to young people in southern Africa.
The team will continue to support the charity, which will continue to operate as usual despite this setback.
The highlights of the team since its inception include four stage wins for Briton Mark Cavendish at the 2016 Tour de France, in the same year he won the Tour of Qatar.
It also made history over the years when Daniel Teklehaimanot from Eritrea became the first rider of an African team to wear the dotted jersey of the King of the Mountains in the Tour de France in 2015.
Earlier this year, Nic Dlamini became the first black South African cyclist to ride the Tour de France.