Cycling - African new boys get Italian berths

New Pro Continental team MTN-Qhubeka have been given a wild card for Italian WorldTour races Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-Sanremo.

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Cycling - African new boys get Italian berths
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Milan San Remo

RCS Sport handed the first ever professional team from Africa a place, along with the top 18 teams in the world, in both races.

Team NetApp-Endura, Katusha and Vini Fantini will also contest Tirreno-Adriatico with Androni Giocattoli, Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox, Iam Cycling and Europcar joining the latter two teams in La Primavera.

MTN-QhubekaTeam principal Douglas Ryder said: "It was a major goal for us this year to get into those two races as they are two of the most prestigious ones on the calendar.

"Tirreno-Adriatico will offer some tough stage racing while Milan-San Remo at almost 300km long will offer our riders a great learning opportunity in tough one-day classic conditions."

Team captain Gerald Ciolek added: "I've been building the early part of my season around these two races. To have them confirmed for our team is great.

"People may have wondered why I signed for a Pro Continental team but I think everyone is starting to believe why this project is so special. I am looking forward to heading to Italy for these races." 

Tirreno-Adriatico begins on March 6 while Milan-San Remo, one of the sport's most-prestigious one-day races, takes place on March 17.

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