Dimension Data Hopes To Build On Early Season Success
With stage two stage wins already in the books, including the most recent one on final stage of the 10th Tour of Oman (UCI 2.HC), Dimension Data is already on track to better last year’s win total of seven — nine if including the individual time trial and road race titles won at the African championships.
The South African-registered World Tour team, who picked up its first victory in the individual time trial at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana thanks to Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen, celebrated its second after Italian sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo edged Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) on the line at the finish in Muscat.
“Great feeling for me and I think also for the team,” said Nizzolo, who moved up from 14th to fourth just behind teammate Ryan Gibbons on the final points classification, after the race. “We’ve had good start to the year, so let’s keep on like this now.”
Gibbons shared Nizzolo’s sentiments with Bicycling South Africa.
“Definitely a successful week all around,” said the 24-year-old Johannesburg native, who finished fifth on the same stage. “On Day 2, we lost Ben O’Connor, who was going to be our GC man. Going on from that we just wanted to move forward and salvage something. To achieve what we did we can’t be unhappy with that.”
Lots of promise for a better season in 2019 for @TeamDiData, and new team sports director @HendrikRedant already likes what he sees as he talked with @Bicycling_SA pior to the Stage 6 victory by TDD sprinter @Giacomonizzolo (ITA) on the final day at @tourofoman #TOO2019 pic.twitter.com/XccFiikfsk
— Aaron S. Lee (@aaronshanelee) February 23, 2019
New team directeur sportif Hendrik Redant, a longtime DS for the likes of World Tour team Omega Pharma-Lotto — now Lotto Soudal — and former US Pro Continental team UnitedHealthcare, already likes what he sees with Dimension Data. The two-time winner of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne has sincere hopes the team’s general classification riders can match the success of the sprinters in the near future.
“It is very professional, compared to what I’ve had the last eight years, nine years, and also before that I was on the Pro Tour level — you can see big changes in last 10 years,” Redant told Bicycling South Africa. “Dimension Data is really a professional team. I was really surprised when I came in to see how it is all structured. They change a lot in their total business [approach] and really look forward to having a change in results also this year.”
Redant explained that camaraderie is critical to a team’s success, off-the-bike mateship that he has already observed that he claims have already paid positive dividends.
“We can already see this team sticks together,” shared Redant. “I see a bunch of riders that are friends and that’s very important. You need to have a special bond to really perform together and that’s what I see here and thats what I like.
“So predictions? We will have a good season this year,” he continued. “It wont be as disastrous as it was last year. Hopefully we can ship a few nice wins and that will be nice. Let’s hope our guys for general are also there on their level, our sprinters will be, you can see that already now. So let’s hope we can put this line forward toward victories.
For Gibbons, who was joined by former South African road race champions Jacques Janse van Rensburg (2015) and Jaco Venter (2016), three top five results including a third-place finish on Stage 2, as well as three days spent in the ‘best young rider’ jersey before finishing fifth on the final youth classification, the 2017 Tour de Langkawi winner is inspired by his early season form which began during the Australian summer back in January.
“Definitely going to give me a lot of confidence for the season ahead,” explained Gibbons, who prior to Oman captured the national road race silver medal after finishing third on the youth classification at the Tour Down Under and fourth at Cadel’s Race last month. “It’s been such a surreal start wasn’t expecting this.
“It is definitely motivating me and I think it also gives the team a bit more faith in me as well,” concluded the increasingly versatile Gibbons. “So, I’m really looking forward to the upcoming races and feel really positive it’s going to be a really successful year.”
Here’s some of our favourite shots from the Tour of Oman: