The Eritrean cycling team arrived in Kigali to participate at the 7th edition of the Tour of Rwanda where a total of 85 riders from a record 17 teams are expected to compete. The event will run from November 15 – 22.
In this 2.2 UCI racing event, six professional teams have also confirmed their participation including four European-based teams such as Bike Aid (Germany), Team Loup Sport (Switzerland), Global cycling team (Netherlands) and Haute-Savoie Rhone-Alpes (France).
Neither of the young Merhawi Kudus, prolific Daniel Teklehaimanot, the explosive Natnael Berhane or the new African cycling king Mekseb Debesay will represent Eritrea at this year’s tour of Rwanda race. Instead, it will be represented by a bunch of young talents that consists of Meron Teshome, Aron Debretsion, Amanuel Gebreigzabhier, Tesfom Okubamariam and Metkel Eyob.
Professional riders Mekseb Debesay and Meron Amanuel will ride for their German team Bike Aid instead.
Eritrea has cut itself a niche in African cycling as climbing experts and often enter any competition around the continent as favorites. It still are the undisputed powerhouse of cycling on the continent. No African national team to-date come forward to challenge the Eritreans as they fiercely pursuit to maintain the Championship title for five consecutive years.
In the just concluded Tour de Faso, Eritrean riders won five of the 8 stages and return home with 5 Gold, 2 Silver and 4 Bronze medals. The race introduced a new and rising star by the name of Michael Habtom who claims the three stage wins to his name.
In this year’s edition of Tour of Rwanda, Eritrean riders are set not just to challenge for the mountain stages but also the overall title.
The tour will start with a short Prologue (3.5km) tomorrow.
Best wishes to our team.
Asmara, is the capital city and largest settlement in Eritrea. Home to a population of around 649,000 inhabitants, it sits at an elevation of 2,325 metres (7,628 ft). The city is located at the tip of an escarpment that is both the northwestern edge of the Eritrean highlands and the Great Rift Valley in neighbouring Ethiopia.
It is almost 1,000 meters higher than Johannesburg making it an excellent location for high altitude athletic training.
During the week around 08h00 hundreds of competition cyclists can be observed riding out towards the edge of the escarpment where they can ride the 65 km decent to almost sea level at the bottom and then climb back up in the high temperatures of the later day.
This is perhaps one of the reasons why this country produces such phenomenal cyclists. (Source: Bicycle Life)