The MTN-Qhubeka Feeder Team is based at the UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC) in Potchefstroom, South Africa, which seeks to develop African cycling talent.
Last week, the WCC’s African project won an exciting award, and Qhubeka extends our congratulations to the UCI, the WCC, its director, Jean-Pierre Van Zyl, and all the African riders showing the world that Africa has a welath of cycling talent to offer. The article below was originally published on the WCC site:
The World Cycling Centre project Out of Africa has been awarded second place in the SportAccord Spirit of Sport Award.
The annual awards commend the commitment and humanitarian spirit of SportAccord members who have made an exceptional and lasting contribution to using sport as a tool for positive social change.
One of six shortlisted porjects, Out of Africa takes second place behind the International Tennis Federation’s Wheelchair Tennis project.
UCI President Pat McQuaid received the award on behalf of the UCI at a ceremony in Saint Petersburg, Russia on Wednesday May 29th.
Out of Africa, is the name of the WCC project in Potchefstroom, South Africa, which was launched in 2004 with the aim of increasing the number of Africans represented at the Olympic Games.
In 2005 the first intake of 24 athletes from 10 African Federations trained for eight weeks under the watchful eye of Jean-Pierre Van Zyl. Since then the training centre’s staff of two has grown to nine, and African athletes have begun successfully racing on the professional circuit.
Based permanently in Potchefstroom, Jean-Pierre Van Zyl works in close collaboration with the International Cycling Union and the WCC in Aigle, Switzerland, where he sends his best athletes for further training and racing in Europe.
“I always believed in my athletes and always saw their potential,” says Jean-Pierre Van Zyl. “However it happened much sooner than expected. I firmly believe that Africans will be the next big change in the professional peloton. They are such hard working people and they deserve all the glory of their success.”
He said that the SportAccord award was a huge honour for African cycling and the efforts made to develop the sport on the continent. He hoped that it would send out a clear message to the world about the UCI’s commitment to develop the sport.
“The UCI has been working really hard and has a clear vision of where the sport will be in the next 10 years,” he said.
Mr McQuaid added: “It is a great honour for me to receive this award on behalf of our Out of Africa project. It is an acknowledgement of our work to globalise cycling and of the success of our Centre in Africa. The name of these awards is Spirit of Sport, and that is exactly what our project is all about.”