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Qhubeka confirms future of U23 development team; Rory Sutherland to join Australian national team

NTT Continental Cycling Team becomes Team Qhubeka for 2021 as it looks to continue developing U23 talent from Africa.

Team Qhubeka confirmed the future of its U23 roster for 2021 on Friday, and meanwhile, retirement didn’t last long for Rory Sutherland, who had called time on his 15-year pro career last month.

Sutherland will join the national Australian cycling team as elite road coordinator, with a part-time position based in Europe, where he will work closely with Australian pros on the continent.

Sutherland will coordinate and provide technical direction to national team riders, and help them prepare for elite international competition, such as the Olympic Games, world championships, and Commonwealth Games.

“With two decades of international experience, we believe Rory has a tremendous amount of knowledge and practical experience to bring to the team, and we are excited to be working with him,” said Simon Jones, performance director at the Australian Cycling Team. “Rory’s focus in the short term will be to focus on maximizing our medal chances for Tokyo and secondly contributing to our longer-term plans to sustain road success at major championships in the future.”

Team Qhubeka confirms future with U23 roster for 2021

One of cycling’s most important development teams will continue in 2021, officials confirmed Friday.

Team Qhubeka is the continuation of the NTT Continental Cycling Team, the only squad with a core focus on developing U23 talent from Africa.

Despite challenges in 2020 brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, which saw most of the U23 racing calendar canceled, officials will continue with the project next season for its sixth year in Europe.

“Nearly 60 African riders have come through our system now, and to see the likes of Daryl Impey, Merhawi Kudus, Ryan Gibbons, and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier flourishing as professionals makes us all very proud,” said team principal Douglas Ryder. “Our UCI continental feeder team has done another incredible job in providing opportunity to u23 riders, after what was an insanely challenging year. This team forms the foundation of what we aim to achieve, in providing a pathway into professional cycling for African cyclists.”

The team will include 10 cyclists in 2021, including Marc Pritzen (South Africa), Henok Mulueberhan (Eritrea), Negasi Abreha (Ethiopia), Mattia Guasco (Italy) and 2019 Zwift Academy winner, Drew Christensen (New Zealand). Others include Ghebrehiwet Birhane (Eritrea), Renus Uhiriwe (Rwanda), and the Italian trio of Antonio Puppio, Kevin Bonaldo, and Luca Coati.

Three alumni will step into the pro ranks in 2021, and Connor Brown will join Team Qhubeka-Assos while Natnael Tesfatsion and Leonardo Marchiori both head to Androni Giocattoli.