Amanuel Meron on the Podium
Tuesday, January 3, 2017 12:34:21 PM EST5EDT
The Tour of Eritrea began with a bang for Stradalli – Bike Aid after they put Amanuel Meron on the podium after 117 kilometers of racing, but Stradalli – Bike Aid’s time in Eritrea began far before the 2016 edition was even thought about.
Stradalli – Bike Aid is well known for their charity work in Africa and much of the work is done inside the borders of Eritrea. Before the race, Stradalli – Bike Aid spent time exploring the roads of Eritrea and spending time with local youth.
Eritrea is known for its difficulties regarding poverty and war. Most wouldn’t guess Eritrea is a cycling-crazy country. Americans dream of being professional football players or perhaps going to the NBA. In Eritrea, the dream is cycling and those that reach the World Tour are forever heroes in their country.
3 of the 6 African riders on Stradalli – Bike Aid are from Eritrea and all 3 were present every day to race in their home country. These Eritrean riders are not just filling the pack. These are young rock stars. These are the top athletes Eritrea has to offer and they proved it every day in Eritrea with a podium or top 10 finish.
Amanuel Meron opened the account for Stradalli – Bike Aid with a 3rd place finish in a very tight sprint finish in stage 1. Amanuel Meron repeated this finish on stage 2 in the process of helping Meron Teshome of Stradalli – Bike Aid take a commanding win in the sprint finish in Agordat. Stage 3 was more mountainous and less suitable to the team of expert sprinters at Stradalli – Bike Aid, but Amanuel Meron still finish at the front of the main group. However, the team didn’t take it easy for long.
Stage 4 was a déjà vu for the peloton as Stradalli – Bike Aid again took 2 of the top 5 spots. Amanuel Meron and the team knew the sprint leaders jersey was well within reach. Meron Teshome returned the favor helping Amanuel Meron onto the podium while finishing fourth on the day.
The sprinters may be the stars of the race, but they could not accomplish these results without top notch teamwork. The rest of the team, which includes Eritrean rider Amanuel Mengis Ghebreindrias, and German riders Dominik Merseburg, Daniel Bichlmann and Matthias Schnapka worked tirelessly to put the team in the best possible position for the win. They do it all on the Stradalli Aversa to handle the tough roads of Eritrea.
Such is the case for Stradalli – Bike Aid on and off the bike. The team works constantly to continue their mission in Africa to provide opportunities for less-fortunate people. Many Africans would never have the opportunity to be educated, let alone have easy access to clean drinking water and nutritious food.
Stage 5 ended in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea. The team had done more than enough to cement their victory in the sprint points competition. The team took home the green leaders jersey and gave Eritrean cycling fans the opportunity to spend time with their cycling heroes. Now the team is in Germany to continue their European campaign.
Many say the level of cycling in Africa is not as high as Europe, but this is not the case. African cycling is full of incredible athletes and the team is well prepared for Eschborn – Frankfurt after a long stint in Africa and several tune up races in Germany.
The Tour of Eritrea was a success. Wins aside, the team got back to its roots and it was a healthy reminder to the riders why they race. Stradalli – Bike Aid does not race their bicycles just to race. Stradalli – Bike Aid Continental Professional team is a family and they are proving every day they have the work ethic to succeed.