TODAY was a spectacular day for MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung as one its best climber Eritrean Daniel Teklehaimanot wrapped up the King of the Mountains jersey while Louis Meintjes put in a phenomenal ride to claim 3rd place on today’s Criterium du Dauphine queen stage competition.
Daniel and Louis were part of the large break of the day that had 5 category 1 climbs before them. Daniel took maximum points on the first 3 cat 1 climbs while Louis picked up a few points himself to move into 2nd place in the Polka Dot jersey competition.
With only 45pts on offer in the Criterium du Dauphine and already leading with 47pts, Daniel Teklehaimanot only needs just to finish tomorrow’s final stage to win MTN-Qhubeka’s first World Tour leaders jersey.
It was indeed a well-deserved excitement for the team and one of the greatest day in their history. Of course, being the first African team to ride the Tour de France in two weeks time is exciting by itself. However, to compete in a World Tour for the first time and win a stage and jersey at the same time is historic.
MTN-Qhubeka’s team principal Douglas Ryder can not hide his joy after seeing one of his favorite rider wining the polka dot jersey. He said Daniel will be one of the nine MTN-Qhubeka squads riding at the Tour de France next month.
Douglas Ryder – Team Principal
“This is the first jersey victory in the World Tour for our team. Being achieved by an African rider is a dream come true, especially for Daniel. He always said that as a boy, his favorite jersey was the polka dot, over the yellow because it shows aggression, passion and flair in the race. His dream was to win it rather than any other jersey. He told us many times this week: this is my dream. Before the Tour de France, it’s perfect. Daniel will ride the Tour, that’s for sure. He got married last year. He’s in such a good place in his life at the moment.”
Daniel Teklehaimanot – Rider
“Looking at the course today, I wanted to be in the break and score some points. I’m glad that I’ve made it. This is the first distinctive jersey for MTN-Qhubeka in a World Tour race. When I was young and watching the Tour de France, I was always more excited by the fight for the polka dot jersey than the yellow. It’s fantastic to know that I’ll be riding the Tour de France as well. It’s very exciting. All the riders in the world want to do the Tour. I hope I’ll have a chance to race for the polka dot jersey as well as here. One day with this jersey at the Tour would be enough for me. It won’t be easy but I’m prepared to working hard.”
Louis Meintjes – Rider
“Today was a very good stage for me as it had a lot of climbing. I was really happy to be able to get a good result today for myself and for the team. We also got a whole lot of mountian points with Daniel so that was also great and made today a very good day for our team.”