Tour de France

Nicholas Dlamini becomes the first Black South African to start Tour de France

American rider Sean Bennett will also make Tour de France debut with Qhubeka Assos.

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Nicholas Dlamini will become the first Black South African to race the Tour de France, Qhubeka Assos officials confirmed Friday.

Dlamini will be part of its roster as the team starts its seventh Tour de France in franchise history. Dlamini’s selection is a landmark moment for the South African-registered team, officials said.

“For Nic, what a moment though — his story is simply an incredible one and for him to have earned this opportunity shows that dreams really do come true, and for the team to have provided that opportunity makes me incredibly proud,” said principal Douglas Ryder. “He’s always been an individual that has stepped up and taken the opportunities that he’s fought for … this will culminate in an incredible moment for him, South Africa, and especially for our team.”

The 25-year-old grew up in an informal settlement in Cape Town, and started as a runner before his talents saw him move to the UCI’s World Cycling Centre Africa in Potchefstroom, South Africa, and later joined the team’s UCI Continental outfit – Team Qhubeka — before joining the WorldTour in 2018.

Dlamini was involved in an incident last year in a confrontation with South African authorities that left him with a broken arm.

“Being selected to ride in my first Tour de France is an absolute dream come true for me,” Dlamini said. “It’s always been an absolute childhood dream for me and now that I’m about to live it makes it feel surreal.”

Also getting tipped to race are American Sean Bennett in his Tour debut, with Fabio Aru and Sergio Henao leading the GC.

Qhubeka Assos for Tour de France:

Simon Clarke (AUS)

Michael Gogl (AUT)

Victor Campenaerts (BEL)

Max Walscheid (GER)

Sean Bennett (USA)

Nic Dlamini (RSA)

Sergio Henao (COL)

Fabio Aru (ITA)