Technically Spring begins on the 21 of March and in cycling la classica di primavera is traditionally Milano San Remo on 17 of March. In Belgium you could think Spring comes later and in a certain way you are right... but when riders start racing on those cobbled part of the world... The Sping Classics can't be far. This year it's particularly cold in Belgium but it will be particularly warm tomorrow when the hot support of Belgian fans will meet for the first time the warmth of the African team Qhubeka. Allez!
Qhubeka's rider Youcef Reguigui is the first Algerian ever to line up in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. “It’s 5 degrees today, not warm like Africa.” he says “I am happy to be in this race. It’s a great picture for my country and for Team MTN-Qhubeka as we are the first African professional team." It's an exciting adventure and for a good cause. Youcef's father was also a bike racer, he raced is Europe in the 80’s and is a former winner of the Tour of Algeria: “My father is happy for me" explains Youcef "but he is also happy for Team MTN-Qhubeka because he watched my first race on tv in Italy last weekend and was very happy. He says, to have a good team like this and the yellow colour from Africa, is very good.”
Last year Youcef was fairing well against the best under 23 riders in the world. He won a Nations Cup event and placed in the top 10 of several others for a total of 7 amateur victories. "The jump to a professional level is a bigger one but with the team’s long-term development plans for young athletes, we could see him line up in a race like Omloop Het Nieuwsblad as a contender in the future." says Qhubeka's press release. “Omloop will be my second professional race now" the rider adds "and I need to chat to our director tomorrow to ask what he wants me to do in the race. Maybe I have to go into a breakaway or I have to stay in the peloton and look after [Gerald] Ciolek or Ignas [Konovalovas]. He knows the race as he’s done it before and to look after the team and supporting them is ok for me.”