Africa has persisted, for years, to make a place in European cycling
Natnael Berhane, Mekseb Debesay and Daniel Teklehaimanot are the three Eritrean cyclists who make up Dimension Data, a team characterized by its solidarity
Natnael Berhane, Mekseb Debesay and Daniel Teklehaimanot, the three Eritrean cyclists of the Dimension Data (Manel Montilla - Manel Montilla)
Updated 03-24-2017 10:17
The dominance of African athletes in the background world for decades has been well known. Ethiopian Haile Gebreselassie, Eritrean Zersenay Tadesse, four-time world champion half-marathon and the first athlete in his country to win an Olympic medal, bronze in the final of the 10,000 in Athens 2004 or the Eritrean Ghirmay Ghebreslassie, Won the 2015 World Athletics Championships in Beijing, China.
All of them are some examples of the milestones achieved by the African sport, but currently in Africa, it is not athletics, the only sporting discipline that triumphs beyond its borders.
For a few years, Eritrea, a country of little more than 5 million inhabitants, located in the north of Ethiopia and Kenya stands out in the world of cycling, trying to leave behind the image of a poor nation full of young people willing to die in a Eagerness to reach Europe. One of the teams that is concerned with promoting and promoting African riders on the European continent is the Dimension Data, founded in 2007 and belonging to the Continental category since 2008.
Natnael Bernahe in career
Dimension Data, humanitarian will
Of South African origin it aims to help compete to the maximum level to the African cyclists, explains its sport director Álex Sans, who this week directs to the equipment in the Cycle Volta to Catalunya. Sans is aware of the difficulty of achieving great stars and triumphs in the UCI World Tour: "In the long run you can not rule anything out. In Eritrea cycling is the main sport, there is more investment and lots of hobby. In the national championships last year, in the elite, more than 200 cyclists from the African continent left despite the difficulties to get out of there. "
The team is nurtured by the best amateur cyclists at the UCI World Center in South Africa, compete for Africa and those who show the best qualities and pass into the ranks of Dimension Data. A team that has as policy to have in the workforce 50% of African runners and that is also characterized by its humanitarian work. Part of proceeds from races and donations goes to a Qhubeka charity project that aims to provide African children with bicycles for them to travel to school. Last year they managed to send Africa 5000 bicycles.
In this edition of the Volta the team has three Eritreans Natnael Berhane (25 years), who stands out for having won the Tour of Turkey 2013 and Eritrea champion en route and time trial, Mekseb Debesay (25 years), who had a great 2015 And that last season was 3º in the African Championship in Route, and Daniel Teklehaimanot. Born in Debarwa was the first African professional cyclist to run in the top category of cycling and participated in the Vuelta a España 2012. In 2014 he signs for MTK Qhueba and in 2015 he managed to lead, during the Tour, the classification of the mountain becoming The first African runner to wear the red jersey. Daniel is proud to represent his country for Europe: "I hope to serve as an example for all the young people of my country and I believe that in the future we will be able to achieve great things because there are very good African climbers who can get victories."
Waiting to take the exit