MTN-Qhubeka granted WorldTour licence

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MTN-Qhubeka have been granted a WorldTour licence by the International Cycling Union (UCI) for the first time to take the 2016 Tour to its full quota of 18 teams.

The African team - who will be known as Dimension Data from next year - have made huge strides over the past 12 months with climber Daniel Teklehaimanot holding the King of the Mountains jersey at the Tour de France for four stages.

Mark Cavendish's arrival for 2016 is also a statement of intent from the team as they look to challenge on a regular basis.

Initially the UCI did not award the team a full licence, however following a full review the Licence Commission has decided to upgrade their status.

"This is incredible, I am so happy for this team, our partners and all the staff and riders that have worked so hard over the years to keep building this team to push beyond the boundaries and believe that anything is possible," team principal Doug Ryder told their official website. 

"To get this news on our training camp in Cape Town as we are bonding with our new team for the future is simply the best motivation to move forward into 2016."

As well as Cavendish, the team have also acquired the services of the sprinter's lead-out man Mark Renshaw and former Team Sky rider Bernhard Eisel.