Schlagwort-Archive: NTT Pro Cycling


Foto: Gerhard Plomitzer, Bayern-Rundfahrt 2012

NTT Pro Cycling’s recently appointed Technical Partner Manager, Michael Rogers, is no stranger to cycling fans. As a former three-time world time trial champion and multiple Grand Tour stage-winner, a decorated career saw him ride for the world’s biggest and most successful teams.
To go with the expertise he provides to our team, ‘Mick’ is also a devoted family man and so has drawn on his unique experience to pen his thoughts on the current state that not only cycling finds itself in, but the world at large.
There are many lessons we learn from extreme situations. Ordinarily, my introduction to the NTT Pro Cycling community would be about what brings us together, cycling. It’s something beautiful and it bubbles with energy, emotions and memories.
Professional cycling is on pause to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the riders are still training. On bikes in virtual world’s, connected to online platforms that – curiously – engages audiences, as well as participants, in a new-world era of sport.
When I was chasing world championship medals and doing all I could to succeed in races like the Tour de France, I thought of nothing else. Cycling was my world and nothing else mattered.
I’ve grown up in cycling and although I understand why I felt this way then, I see it with a different perspective now. The pandemic has stopped a lot of what we know to be normal, but we humans adjust quickly. No one has the answer to the great: what-comes-next? But I’m doing my best to continue to be positive as I navigate my way through this extreme situation.
My family has been at home since mid-February. My three young daughters do their schooling online, and I stay in touch with people around the globe, as everyone is doing; conference calling has come of age and, within weeks, it’s clear that our kids aren’t missing too much of their education. And me, at work at home? I’ve never been busier.
We all have our stories. Many of us are confined. Many are confused. Many are concerned. We’re all looking for solutions. And, I know we are becoming more united – in my new role at NTT Pro Cycling, it’s obvious, but I also hope that unity is gaining momentum elsewhere, in our communities, cities and countries.
It is easy to feel lost when you’re isolated. And hope vanishes even faster when goals have been taken away or ambitions supressed. To use a sporting analogy, where’s the motivation in doing the extreme work required to be ready to compete? Without an objective, it’s logical to feel confused.
But I’ve seen my family in action, even while they need to be more idle than they’d like. I’ve seen them find a way to keep moving, to stay healthy, to exercise and keep learning. It can be difficult but there are also huge rewards.
In the professional realm, I’ve engaged with my colleagues and felt part of a community that, thanks to logical adaptation through technology, is even more united than before. Perhaps because of the commonality of the broader issue that limits our movement, we are even more connected. Distance separates us but the problem brings us closer together, emotionally.
I learned things about life when I raced my bike. Some of these lessons served me well in the years since I stopped competing. I understand the value of teamwork, good communication, and physical toil; if you combine these elements with some clever thinking, good support, attention to detail – and maybe a hint of luck for good measure – you move mountains.
Great. That’s fantastic, but then what?
Again: without an objective, it’s logical to feel confused.
It was cycling that paid my wages for over 20 years. Then I stopped racing and it would have been easy to get confused.
For so long, the goal was to go from one line to the next. That’s it: start, finish. Job done. Next race.
Under the shadow of something like the novel coronavirus that has changed the world in a few short, dramatic months – something that truly requires teamwork, good communication and enormous emotional, physical and even spiritual toil to overcome – it’s easy to feel lost, aimless, lacking objective, and craving a goal.
But it’s also possible to feel inspired and capable and proud. How do I know? Because I’ve been lucky enough to have seen my family for a couple of months, and observe their resilience, watch them grow, listen to their arguments or join them in debates. This is a positive from a negative. And it’s enormously valuable to remember that it’s an experience we’re all going through, so you’re not lost or isolated because everyone is doing the same.
We may not move around like we did before but, at the end of each day, I look up to see the stars shine brighter than I remember them to be. And that’s not all I’m seeing differently.
At home and at work, I’m fulfilled. I’m not lost and there is a goal.
Cycling is on a pause, but at NTT Pro Cycling team we’re using this time to prepare, to better understand each other and find new ways of improving performance. We listen, we speak, we learn. I believe they are core elements of unity.
Personally I consider myself fortunate: I’ve learnt from my wife and children that the real goal in life is to experience what is right before us, to savour it, to understand that when we have unity, we are collectively stronger, and we go longer and faster than anyone of us could alone.
I have a new job now. I’m part of the NTT Pro Cycling team. There is a chance for me to pass on the knowledge I’ve acquired from my years in professional cycling, racing with some of the best athletes on the planet, in all manner of conditions – with lofty highs and dreadful, soul-destroying lows.
I’ve decided to look forwards. There might not be a wheel ahead of me – or even a road at the moment, but I’m confident that there’s a slipstream on offer. I might not see a team with the same perspective as in my previous profession, but I know it’s there with me during this ride. And it’s nice to feel united.

Michael Rogers


Nic Dlamini is back on his bike in full training as he continues to make his comeback after breaking his arm at the end of 2019. Yet to race this year, Nic recently received the important all-clear to return to riding outdoors from our team’s medical department.
We caught up with him to see how he was doing, his thoughts on the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games and what his remaining goals are for the season.
Nic, in light of the current situation with the Coronavirus, where are you at the moment?

At the moment I’m in Holland, it’s quite a big thing obviously (here) and everyone is aware of it. I’ve just been trying not to touch anything as I go about my daily routine and I’ve also been training on my own. In Holland at the moment you are still permitted to train outdoors but obviously it’s better if you train alone. I also keep a distance when going to the shops and things like that.
You’ve recently returned to Europe and you’re back on the bike; what was it like to get that go-ahead from the medical staff to finally ride outdoors again?

Look, it was a phenomenal feeling. I’ve trained indoors for 10 weeks, I think that was more than enough! I was really looking forward to getting outdoors and just spending time on my bike, taking in the view and getting some fresh air for a bit. I had been waiting for that day for a long time and it finally came. I’m glad to be outside again and getting closer to where I was before.
You had your arm broken late last year, in an incident that received worldwide attention, how difficult has it been to recover from that and then get back into a frame of mind to train, with a view to get back to racing?
To be honest it was really difficult. It happened at a weird time, sort of really awkward but obviously I knew that the Olympics were in a few months time so my goal was to try and get back and to be good for the Olympics and try and make it for the selection. I also had really good support that contributed to my motivation, so I think it’s worked really well.

Tell us about the support that you’ve received in your recovery process, both from those close to you and from the public at large?
The support was phenomenal, really amazing. A lot of people were messaging me and I remember the first couple of weeks I couldn’t really deal with both my phones. There were also a lot of messages on social platforms. It was also really nice having my family and girlfriend around and a lot of fans were sending messages of support so that was really nice to see.

The Olympic Games had been one of your key goals for the season but has now been postponed, what would it mean to represent your country at the Olympics?
To ride the Olympics has always been a dream of mine and representing South Africa would be a big achievement for me, to wear the colours with pride and do a good job. Now that they are postponed it gives me more time to prepare better because as I’d only had a couple of months to prepare for them so I wasn’t quite sure or super confident what I would be like in June, but now that they’re in 2021 I know that I have a lot of time to prepare and get myself in good condition for the Olympics.

Does this postponement in some ways work out quite well in your favour in terms of timing?
Absolutely, as I said it gives me enough time to prepare. Also with the Coronavirus and with the readjustment of the calendar it plays into my hands as well, so in a way I have a lot of time to prepare and I don’t have to keep playing catch up. So when the racing resumes I’ll pretty much be on the same level as everyone and also the Olympics next year as well and I’ll hopefully be in good shape for them. I look forward to making the selection and hopefully get to represent South Africa there.

For various reasons, you haven’t even managed to meet a large number of your new teammates and staff, it’s already March, that’s a fairly unique situation; can you perhaps just talk us through how that actually works?
I think in the cycling world it’s normal. We sometimes only get to see our teammates at the training camp and then you never see them during the season as everyone has a different race calendar so I guess that’s why it’s really important to have those training camps at the end of the year so you can see your teammates and spend a bit of time with them. Everyone that does Grand Tours gets really close to their teammates, bonding with their teammates so it would be nice to have that sort of bond that you build in a Grand Tour, suffering with your teammates in races and understanding each other.

Does the fact that racing calendar is now potentially shifting much later in the year play into your hands? Which races in particular are you looking forward to the most?
Now that racing has been cancelled and some races postponed I have lot of time to train and get into good shape for the races coming up. I’m still super motivated and I can’t really wait to get back on the starting line and get to race and put up a good show.

I really love Dauphine for some reason, it’s really a nice race and the atmosphere is amazing I’d really to do it again this year and obviously I’d love to do a Grand Tour again this year and use everything that I learnt in last year’s Grand Tour (Vuelta) into a GT this year and get better results and also basically race as one team. The team has been really doing great since the start of the season so we want to keep that going.

2019 saw you in many ways still learning your craft at WorldTour level and you also rode your first Grand Tour, how much does what’s happening now set you back in terms of your own personal goals and ambitions?
I think if I didn’t break my arm late last year I would have been in really good shape at the moment and would have done a couple of races. That’s obviously not the case but I’m still motivated to get better and see what I’ve learnt from the Vuelta last year, and I think from everything that I learnt last year I think I’ll be able to be there in the finals (of races) and basically put up a great fight and get results. That’s one of the things that I’m really looking forward to this year when the racing resumes.
@ NTT Pro Cycling


TOKYO 2020
NTT Pro Cycling’s time trial specialist, Victor Campenaerts, has welcomed the decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee to postpone the Olympic Games.
Campenaerts, 28, was working towards earning a spot on Team Belgium, with the final selection due to take place over the coming months.

Foto: Gerhard Plomitzer

On Tuesday, a joint statement from the IOC and the organisers, saw the Games now postponed “beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021″ due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I don’t think that it’s a surprise for anybody that they’ve postponed the Tokyo Olympic Games. I think it’s a good decision, the only one that the organisers could really take. There were rumours about the Olympics taking place in November or December but I think that would be really to strange to have a summer Olympics in the winter,” said Campenaerts.
“I think this is the best decision if you consider the bigger picture, which for now is greater than just the sporting world, and it’s good that they make that call right now. It’s important for those athletes who put so much into their planning and preparation for the showpiece.

“For me personally, as a cyclist, there’s plenty of opportunity to shine so as it is already been a very strange season, and it will be a really strange season going forward, it’s no big deal.
“But for my girlfriend (swimmer Fanny Lecluyse) this is a really strange time. She has already been selected so will she now be selected for next year’s Olympics? Will she have to qualify again?
“She was planning to retire after these Olympic Games and as we know swimming is not necessarily one that financially as lucrative as some others, so for her it’s not such good news.”

Campenaerts also recently featured in the latest episode of NTT Pro Cycling’s ‘UnClipped’ podcast.
In it, he talks about his personal background and how he came into the sport, what an Olympic medal would mean to him and also how he manages to deal with disappointment that as a professional could manifest in some form of “depression”.
You can follow the link for full details on how to listen to that, here:

About NTT Pro Cycling
Founded in 2007, NTT Pro Cycling (formerly Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka) 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.

NTT Pro Cycling Paris-Nice Line up

The 2020 ‘Race to the Sun’ gets underway on Sunday in Paris and we are delighted to confirm our roster to take part in the event, which has been expanded to eight-rider teams by the organisers.
Our selection is highlighted by the inclusion of time trial specialist Victor Campenaerts and some of the pre-race focus will immediately be on stage four’s 15.1km route, as he makes his debut in the discipline for NTT Pro Cycling. It’s a stage the 28-year-old Belgian has labelled a “big opportunity” for himself and the team.
The opening 154km stage, starting and finishing in Plaisir, is likely to be one for the fast men, along with stages two and three, and in a stacked bunch of sprinters slated to start, our selection features the trio of Giacomo Nizzolo, Ryan Gibbons and Max Welscheid.
All three have tasted success in 2020 with the Italian winning a stage at the Tour Down Under, Gibbons being crowned the South African road race champion and Weslcheid winning two stages at the Tour de Langkawi as well as claiming the overall points jersey.
While the second half of the race heads south for Nice and where the climbers in the bunch will take over in the fight for the general classification. To that end, Ben O’Connor and Roman Kreuziger come into their own and will be looking to test their early-season form.
Completing our selection is the exciting and experienced duo of Michael Valgren and Michael Gogl; both have been building steadily in the early season and were strong at the recently completed “Opening Weekend” in Belgium. This race forms a crucial part of their season and preparation for some of the challenges that lie ahead.

Victor Campenaerts
I’m really looking forward to Paris-Nice; the time trial is very suited to me and I can’t wait race on my BMC time trial bike with disc brakes.

They will be such an advantage on this parcours because you have a number of corners coming out of a descent, and it’s such a big advantage to be able to brake that much later. A lot of teams have disc brakes already on their time trial bikes but it’s still less than 50% of the peloton, so it’s super-cool to have that edge.
Also, with the first few days being very hectic as we’ve seen the effect of echelons in previous years and especially in stage two and three which the course is more or less “designed” for, then there’s a big opportunity for the team.
It’s always very hard and hectic to be in the right echelon but if it’s possible not to lose time on those in first three stages, then there’s a big chance to not only win the time trial, but also take the (leader’s) jersey. That would be not just for me but the whole team, a super-cool experience.

Etoile de Bessèges – Etappe 4

Le Pont du Gard – Le Mont Bouquet (138,7 km)
1 Ben O’Connor (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling Team 3:20:29
2 Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Pro Cycling 0:00:16
3 Kamil Malecki (Pol) CCC Team 0:00:16
4 Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Pro Cycling 0:00:26
5 Benoît Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:29
6 Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Arkéa – Samsic 0:00:33
7 Laurens Huys (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles 0:00:36
8 Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis 0:00:36
9 Aurélien Paret-Peintre (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:38
10 Daniel Alejandro Mendez Noreña (Col) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:00:41
11 Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) EF Pro Cycling 0:00:52
12 Damien Touzé (Fra) Cofidis 0:00:56
13 Alexys Brunel (Fra) Groupama – FDJ 0:00:56
14 Michael Valgren Hundahl (Den) NTT Pro Cycling Team 0:00:56
15 Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Total Direct Energie 0:00:56

1 Benoît Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 14:24:17
2 Alexys Brunel (Fra) Groupama – FDJ 0:00:24
3 Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Pro Cycling 0:00:40
4 Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Total Direct Energie 0:00:43
5 Kévin Geniets (Lux) Groupama – FDJ 0:00:45
6 Edward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise 0:01:12
7 Aurélien Paret-Peintre (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:25
8 Laurens Huys (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles 0:01:28
9 Damien Touzé (Fra) Cofidis 0:01:29
10 Daniel Alejandro Mendez Noreña (Col) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:01:33

Ben O’ Connor soloed to an impressive victory on stage 4 of Etoile de Bessèges for NTT Pro Cycling.

It was an inspired team performance that set Ben O’Connor up for the win on stage 4 of the Etoile de Bessèges. Initially, O’Connor made it into the early break of the day with 6 other riders but with 55km to go of the 138km stage, NTT Pro Cycling looked to shake up proceedings by relentlessly attacking from the peloton.
First, Andreas Stokbro made a move but he was brought back by the main group. Then Michael Gogl jumped clear and he got a slight gap before two others bridged to him. We then had Edvald Boasson Hagen and Michael Valgren also attack the peloton just a few kilometers later, as they looked to bridge across to Gogl.
With around 30km to go, the Boasson Hagen and Valgren group caught both the Gogl and O’Connor leading group almost simultaneously, giving NTT Pro Cycling 4 riders in a lead group of 11 riders. Our quartet took charge of the front group and drove the pace all the way to foot of the 4.5km finishing climb, arriving at its base some 40″ ahead of the main field.

O’Connor set the pace as soon as they turned onto the uphill gradient and one-by-one, the remaining riders were distanced until only Simon Clarke (EF Education) remained.
As O’Connor had done all the work on the climb, Clarke thought he had the advantage and attacked our young Australian with just over 2km to go. O’Connor was equal to him and not only followed the move but also counter-attacked, twice, while also keeping the chasers from the main field at bay too.
It was the third surge that came at 1km to go from O’Connor that was the telling blow though. He got the gap on the EF rider and soloed to an incredible stage victory, just reward after a superb team performance.

Ben O’Connor
„We got the stage win! It was awesome teamwork from the boys, they really took the race on. I was upfront early and then Michael (Valgren), Eddy and (Michael) Gogl came across and really took the race on. We gave it our best shot and blew it to pieces. In the end, I was able to finish off their work so it was a team win today. It was absolutely perfect, what we were able to do. It gives us confidence for the upcoming races, that we can be up there with the best in the world.”

NTT Pro Cycling enters into partnership with Virtu Cycling

NTT Pro Cycling and Virtu Cycling have signed a letter of intent that sees the Danish business immediately acquire a minority share of the operational company of the South African cycling team.

The partnership is built on a shared vision to continue the development of the team along with its commitment to showcase the impact that bicycles have in changing people’s lives. It will also enable Virtu Cycling to further strengthen and develop its brand promise; to create unique cycling experiences.
NTT Pro Cycling has today announced that it has joined forces with Virtu Cycling, a Danish group of cycling-related activities, in a newly established partnership, effective immediately.

The parties have agreed a deal which sees Virtu Cycling invest in one third of the shares of the operational company behind NTT Pro Cycling. Together, the partners will seek to continue the development of the team from both a sporting and an organizational perspective, with a view to long term sustainability and success into the future.
This partnership naturally sees the continued commitment and support of the Qhubeka Charity, which incredibly distributed its 100 000th bicycle in 2019.

Virtu Cycling is co-owned by former Tour de France winner, Bjarne Riis, and businessmen and entrepreneurs, Lars Seier Christensen and Jan Bech Andersen.
Riis will take on the role as Team Manager of NTT Pro Cycling and will build on its sporting development, together with its sporting staff and the technology-driven approach to performance.
Bjarne Riis, Virtu Cycling co-owner and Team Manager, NTT Pro Cycling:
“This is a proud moment for our organization, Virtu Cycling, and I’m really excited by this partnership and its potential. Together, I believe we can develop one of the world’s best cycling teams built on being performance and technology-driven, combined with our many years of experience from the World Tour.
“We have had some thorough and fruitful talks and meetings with Doug Ryder on the team’s future and potential. I’m really looking forward to our collaboration and to take on the sporting leadership of the team in this new setup. I have nothing but admiration for what Doug has built and achieved with this team starting on continental level onwards to become a WorldTour-team, for his contribution to cycling and his work and support for the Qhubeka Charity. Together, I believe we can take the team to the next level and make it a team that everybody – riders and staff – want to be a part of.”

Douglas Ryder, founder and Team Principal, NTT Pro Cycling:
“Today is yet another significant moment in the history of this team, and indeed its future. The expertise and breadth of experience that Bjarne Riis will provide in supporting the sporting development through our unique technology-driven performance approach will be hugely significant, and further add on to what we have built with our title sponsor, NTT Ltd.”
“I believe this partnership will benefit the entire team to help them achieve great results which in turn helps shine a spotlight on our partners, our way of working as a team but most importantly our commitment in support of the Qhubeka Charity.
“Danish cycling is in a very strong place and this partnership, together with the foundation that we already have in place, I believe will help develop the team to become one of the best in the world in the years to come. That is our ambition.”
Anders Gram, Group CEO, Virtu Cycling:
“At Virtu Cycling, we have had talks and negotiations with other teams in terms of building a professional cycling team but decided to take the time needed to investigate our options thoroughly. As seen from our perspective, the potential in the partnership with NTT Pro Cycling and the match in philosophy was by far the most compelling to us and therefore the one, we chose.
“This partnership enables us to further develop our group of companies and to live our core story of creating unique cycling experiences, whether it’s traveling, business networking, or high-end apparel.”

Ruth Rowan, Global Chief Marketing Officer, NTT Ltd:
“We’re delighted to welcome Virtu Cycling to the fold. As title sponsor, we help NTT Pro Cycling leverage technological innovation, and combine it with athletic performance, to realize its ambition of being ranked among the top 10 cycling teams in the world. By working with world-class industry experts at Virtu Cycling, as well as a former Tour de France champion on the global cycling stage, we believe that together we will do great things. It’s an extremely exciting time for NTT Pro Cycling, as we all work towards achieving the one ultimate goal of creating a truly unique team that is focused on being among the best in the world, whilst riding to help make the world a better place.

About NTT Pro Cycling:
Founded in 2007, NTT Pro Cycling (formerly Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka) 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 offices 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. For more information:

About Virtu Cycling:
Virtu Cycling is a family of cycling lifestyle brands and companies. The portfolio counts the biggest cycling network in Denmark, Virtu Business Club, a travel agency, Virtu Travel, the bike clothing, equipment and gear company Virtu Cycling Gear and Virtu Villas – a Tuscan hotel Villa Pacini and boutique hotels in Mallorca. From today, Virtu Cycling is also a minority shareholder of the World Tour team NTT Pro Cycling and its development team. Through our heritage and attachment to pro cycling, we create unique cycling experiences. Former World Class rider and manager Bjarne Riis is part of the owner group together with Danish businessmen Lars Seier Christensen and Jan Bech Andersen. The Group CEO of Virtu Cycling is Anders Gram. For more information:

About NTT Ltd:
NTT Ltd. is a leading global technology services company. We partner with organizations around the world to shape and achieve outcomes through intelligent technology solutions. For us, intelligent means data-driven, connected, digital, and secure. As a global ICT provider, we employ more than 40,000 people in a diverse and dynamic workplace that spans 57 countries, trading in 73 countries and delivering services in over 200 countries. Together we enable the connected future.
Visit us at our new website:
About Qhubeka:
Qhubeka 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.