Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Importance of winning at the Tour De France for Eritrea & Daniel Teklehaimanot.

Winning at the Tour De France for Eritrea & Daniel Teklehaimanot while a Belarusian makes a racist slur at Natnael Berhane in the Tour of Austria.

In an incredible show of pure skill and talent Eritrea's Daniel Teklehaimanot did what no body thought could be done. He ended up the "King of the Mountain". The entire team of MTN were just a part of this win as Daniel was.They allowed him to get in the breakaway and in the process helped the team get some very much needed points. The team was confidence that if he could get in the move and cross the three categorized climbs first, he would be a winner. Winner indeed he was!

In order to understand the stage of the mountain portion of the Tour De France we dug in a little and did some research. At the top of each climb in the Tour, there are points awarded for the riders who are first over the top. The climbs are divided into categories, from 1 to 4 based on their difficulty with 1 being the most difficult, measured as a function of their steepness and length. A fifth category, called Hors categorie (outside category) is formed by mountains even more difficult than those of the number 1 category.

This win is a step in the right direction for African and specifically Eritrean cycling. The sport which is now getting more popular in Africa also saw a similar rise in popularity in Latin America. The country of Colombia who has had 5 wins since the event started in 1947. Mostly western European countries won the titles and the defending winner last year was a Polish who surprised many. No one in the cycling world except ERITREANS would be confident that an Eritrean would be wearing the Polka Dot jersey. It happened today and there is a lot more to come. Meanwhile Daniel so far has a lead of over 4 minutes as the Tour De France continues. 

Meanwhile at the tour of Austria which is going on parallel to the tour de France Team MTN were simultaneously making representations to the UCI, cycling’s world governing body, to have Belarusian rider Branislau Samoilau, of Pro-Continental team CCC-Sprandi-Polkowice, thrown out of the Tour of Austria for alleged racial abuse of their Eritrean champion Natnael Berhane. Samoilau is alleged to have called Berhane a “f------ n-----” during Wednesday's stage. It is understood that he has paid a month’s salary by way of apology to the Qhubeka charity, which aims to mobilise Africans by providing them with bikes.

The UCI has not yet provide  official statement on the incident, but a CCC spokesperson did not deny the allegations. According to some sources Natnael Berhane was told to "Get out of the way, you effing n-----". But little did the other guy know that ERITREANS are not and will never be intimidated by such trashy talk. Natnael who will be the next big start to come out of ERITREA. 

According to his Team report from MTN's website:

"The stage went according to the plan we had. We looked after Natnael all stage and brought him to the final climb in a good position. At 5km to go there were only 18 riders left. CCC Sprandi started attacking and Natnael followed from the 2nd position. Then came the counter attacks. Natnael was very good and I was impressed with how he rode. He is now in the top placing’s of the GC with only a few seconds the difference. This is a good place to be so we are happy with our performance today."

Let us keep watching and support these incredible Eritrean athletes that have shown the world that ERITREA is a nation of proud people. Meanwhile every attempt to use this spotlight to tarnish Eritrea's image will not be accepted. Sports is  humanity and no matter what no one can take away an excellent performance that is of historic proportions from the ERITREAN people.

Eri-International sports

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