Mark Cavendish and Steve Cummings spearhead Dimension Data’s bid for Tour de France stage wins

British duo both selected for African team, as Cavendish targets yellow jersey on stage one

Mark Cavendish and Steve Cummings will spearhead Team Dimension Data’s bid for Tour de France stage wins after both Brits were confirmed in the African team’s nine-man line-up.

Cummings earned the team their first ever Tour de France stage win in 2015, winning on Mandela Day, while Cavendish joined the team in the winter and is targeting the yellow jersey on stage one.

Cavendish’s lead-out man Mark Renshaw, who followed him from Etixx-QuickStep in the winter, is also selected, while Norwegian champion Edvald Boasson Hagen and South African Reinardt Janse van Rensburg also bolster the sprinting arsenal.

Mark Cavendish will bid to add to his 26 career Tour de France stage wins (pic: ASO)

Janse van Rensburg is one of three Africans in the team, with Eritrean champion Daniel Teklehaimanot, who won the Criterium du Dauphine King of the Mountains title for the second time this month, also selected.

Fellow Eritrean Natnael Berhane will make his Tour de France debut, meanwhile, and the team is completed by former Team Sky man Bernie Eisel, who serves as road captain, and Belgian Serge Pauwels who will target stage wins in the mountains.

Cavendish will bid to add to his 26 stage wins in the race, before going off to ride the omnium at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and head of performance Rolf Aldag is confident the team will feature at the sharp end on the early sprint stages.

“We have picked a very balanced team to be competitive and to represent the Qhubeka charity on every single stage the Tour de France offers this year,” he said.

“The first few days will be dominated by the sprinters and we are confident to be right up there with Mark Cavendish, Edvald Boasson Hagen and the committed lead out around Mark Renshaw and Reinhard Janse van Rensburg.

“Serge Pauwels, Daniel Teklehaimanot and Steve Cummings proved in the past that they can be very successful from breakaways and that is what we try to repeat.

“Bernhard Eisel will serve as a road captain, while Natnael Berhane will learn a lot in his first Tour as well as he will get his own chance on selective stages.”

Cummings, a stage winner at last year’s race, has three WorldTour stage victories to his name in 2016 (pic: Sirotti)

Cummings races on the back of winning the final stage of the Criterium du Dauphine after a 50km solo break – his third WorldTour stage win of the season.

Both he and Boasson Hagen bagged stage wins in the race, alongside Teklehaimanot – who pulled on the polka dot jersey early in last year’s Tour – being crowned King of the Mountains.

Cavendish, meanwhile, has four wins to his name since joining the team in the winter though his road racing has been balanced with commitments to the track.

Team principal Douglas Ryder added: “This was a really tough decision to make as all of the riders on the squad have stepped up and shown their potential to be in the Tour de France.

“This is a fantastic team of experienced riders we are hoping can deliver on our performance goals of winning stages, being competitive and visible every day, to raise our profile to even greater heights in the incredibly demanding stages of the 2016 Tour de France.”

Team Dimension Data for 2016 Tour de France

Mark Cavendish (GBR)
Steve Cummings (GBR)
Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR)
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA)
Daniel Teklehaimanot (ERI)
Natnael Berhane (ERI)
Mark Renshaw (AUS)
Bernie Eisel (AUT)
Serge Pauwels (BEL)

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