Team Dimension Data riding for Qhubeka will be the new name of the MTN-Qhubeka team in 2016. Dimenson Data was confirmed as a sponsor of the team back in July but has since stepped forward as a primary sponsor after telecoms company MTN decided to end their partnership with the team.
Dimension Data are also the technology partner for the Tour de France, running a beta live tracking site during this year’s race.
The change in name also highlights the desire within the team to move away from the idea of Qhubeka as a sponsor and reflect it as being a recipient of help from the team. The team works to provide funds for the Qhubeka charity that looks to mobilise and help Africans by giving them bikes.
The arrival of the largest professional services firm in the world as a backer is a major development for cycling, where blue-chip sponsors are relatively rare.
“Dimension Data is proud to become the new title partner of this amazing African team. We’re a global technology organisation, and because the team leverages technology – both on and off the bike – our joint goal is to take the team and African cycling to new heights. In addition, we want to help develop African riders into professional cyclists who will compete in some of the greatest cycling events on the African continent and across the world,” said Dimension Data’s Group CEO Brett Dawson.
“We are incredibly excited to have Dimension Data become our new title partner. It enables us to continue to support the development of African cycling and the Qhubeka Charity at the highest levels in World cycling,” said team principle Doug Ryder.
“Cycling is such a high tech sport and we have leveraged technology and data through our high performance team to build the bridge from racing in Africa to competing successfully against the best in the world on the global race calendar.
Meanwhile, the African team also attracted Deloitte Consulting LLP as its Gold sponsor for 2016 to join Dimension Data.
“Deloitte is extremely proud to become a key sponsor of Africa’s leading cycling team, which will be known as Team Dimension Data from 2016 onwards,” said Jim Moffatt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte Consulting LLP.
The team, which is Africa’s only UCI Pro Continental was established in 2007 and stepped up to Pro Continental level in 2013. Since then, they have gone from strength to strength and made history with their first Tour de France appearance this season. Stephen Cummings earned them their first Grand Tour win on stage 14 and young Italian sprinter Kristian Sbaragli backed that up with a stage of the Vuelta a Espana.
Douglas Ryder, Team Principal said, “We are incredibly excited to have Deloitte become one of our main sponsors. Deloitte’s mission is to help their clients excel and has a purpose to make an impact that matters. This is a perfect match for our team as we continue to ride to promote and develop cycling on the African continent and to support our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign through the Qhubeka charity. The technology collaboration between Deloitte and Dimension Data will help our team excel by becoming more connected and operationally efficient as we strive to be the best that we can be in the next phase of this team’s incredible journey.”
How the rider line-up will look for next season is still unknown but it is understood that there are several signings in the pipeline. Mark Cavendish has been heavily linked with a move to the team and they have expressed their interest in the Manxman but he has yet to put pen to paper. Bernhard Eisel and Mark Renshaw could potentially move with him. Disappointingly for the team, they have lost one of their future stars Louis Meintjes to Lampre-Merida. Australian Matt Goss is also expected to leave the team at the end of the year.
More announcements are expected to be made in the coming weeks.
Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including 80 percent of the Fortune 500.
* The Guardian, Cycling News and MTN-Qhubeka contributed to the above story.