Team Qhubeka ASSOS “thrilled” to secure European Champion
His signing is a major coup and follows on from the announcement last week of the team’s continuation into 2021 with its stated ambition as a high-performance, purpose-led team together with ASSOS of Switzerland; and all in the support of the Qhubeka Charity (Qhubeka.org).
The in-demand Italian, who together with his memorable victories in Plouay and Cittadella, also stormed to WorldTour stage victories at both the Santos Tour Down Under and Paris-Nice in a dynamic start to the year.
His impressive run saw him place second at Race Torquay, Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne as well as Circuito de Getxo, and he surged to an excellent fifth place at Milan-Sanremo, to go with numerous other top-10 performances.
His season, disappointingly, was ended by a leg injury sustained during the opening week of the Tour de France where he’d been in the hunt for a first-ever Grand Tour stage victory.
The 31-year-old’s fighting style of riding has captivated and thrilled fans, and epitomises in many respects the team’s fight for its own survival in recent months. Despite his truncated season, Nizzolo still finished 2020 as the 24th ranked rider in the world, as per the official UCI rankings.
Nizzolo’s new deal also follows on the confirmation of the retention of Victor Campenaerts, Max Walscheid, Michael Gogl, Dylan Sunderland, Andreas Stokbro and Domenico Pozzovivo for the 2021 season.
My decision to stay was because I really feel a part of this team and this project. Qhubeka is an incredible organisation that enables lives to be changed through bicycles, it is something great. Two years ago I was in South Africa and watched on as kids received bikes, it was something very emotional that inspired me during the season, and across my life actually. It’s something that I will never forget.
I’m really looking forward to race as soon as possible again as the European champion and as a part of this new chapter. I feel like the team believes in me 100%, and they’ve created a project which is inspiring and gives me extra motivation; having teammates and staff believing that I’m a leader within the team is something that I really need to enable me to perform.
The addition of ASSOS is special; I felt great with them and I’ve had an excellent relationship ever since they first came on board. I’m super happy to still wear their brand as I think everybody knows that they’re the absolute best out there.
2020 has been a crazy year, of course because of Covid and the crazy situation around the world as well as in cycling. For me in the end it was successful; at the start I had a good winter and then a very good start Tour Down Under and as well at Paris-Nice.
Then I restarted training very hard during lockdown looking forward to perform well at Sanremo, which was one of my main goals. I was good there, really good, and from that point I thought that I could be competitive in trying to win the Italian Championship and the European Championship – and I did, which was great!
At the Tour de France I had a great chance on the first day, I felt great, but a sprint is a sprint and I couldn’t find a way through as I wanted to but that’s life. Then everything was looking good but I started to feel pain due to a rupture (in my lower leg), it didn’t improve so we decided to stop, which was the right decision as ultimately it brought my season to an end.
This environment is what I need to fight for my goals; at the beginning of the season we’ll look towards the sprinter Classics, Milan-Sanremo first of all, and then we’ll start looking at the Giro and the Tour. I think it will be nice to wear the European Champion’s jersey at the Giro as the Italian champion but we’ll still have to consider everything as we look at the calendar.
Douglas Ryder, Team Principal
I am so happy to have Giacomo continue with us into the future; he has achieved incredible victories this year like the Italian and European Championship titles which have been very special.
He’s been the perfect example of someone who has come into our organisation and through the support he’s received has shone through with his performances on the bike. We have really worked well together and we look forward to continue working hard and improving to be even better.
His commitment to fight every time he pins a number on his jersey for himself, his team and the impact his success has for those less fortunate is inspiring, and talks directly to who we are as a team.
To have the European jersey on the start line, in our colours, is going to be awesome, and to know the type of fighting performances we’ll get from Giacomo means that I’m just absolutely thrilled. Since joining our team to see the way in which he’s taken that next step up, in the environment we have provided, is so gratifying and an endorsement of where we’re going as a team.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of NTT Pro Cycling.
Jean Smyth (Head of Communications)
Mobile: +27 63 4701 1710 or +31 625 739 033
About NTT Pro Cycling:
Founded in 2007, NTT Pro Cycling (formerly Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka) (NTTProCycling.com) became the first-ever African cycling team to gain a WorldTour license, in 2016. With the support of our headline sponsor and technology innovation partner, NTT, we are the most purpose-driven, performance-led, and technology-enabled team in pro cycling today.
Our ambition is to continue to race at the highest levels in world cycling, to develop riders to realise their full potential and to inspire and motivate people across the African continent to ride bicycles.
We have bases in South Africa, Denmark, the Netherlands and Italy.
We also ride to raise awareness for Qhubeka, a global charity operating in South Africa, through our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign.
The hands on the back of the team race jersey are a reminder that every Qhubeka bicycle is a helping hand up to a beneficiary, which are provided through Qhubeka's learn-to-earn and work-to-earn programmes.
Qhubeka (Qhubeka.org) is a charity that moves people forward with bicycles. People earn bicycles through our programmes, improving their access to schools, clinics and jobs.
A bicycle is a tool that helps people to travel faster and further, and to carry more. In the face of extreme and persistent poverty, bicycles can change lives by helping to address socioeconomic challenges at the most basic level – helping people to get where they need to go.
All images attached to the press release can be used with the respective image credit in combination to this release.
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