By Alula Abraha,
THAT’s it, … the waiting since yesterday is now over and it’s official that Eritrean rider Amanuel Gebreigzabiher becomes the overall winner of Tour International de Constantine in Algeria.
On the one hand, our National Cycling Team concludes an overall third in ranking after two Algerian clubs.
Salim Keddah of Algeria and Matthias Pyfferoen of Belgium might just have scrambled for a one-two in the stages but it is the Eritrean riders who had the last laugh today.
The yellow, the white, the Polka red Jerseys are all now won and worn by our Eritrean riders for the General, Youth and Mountain Classifications, respectively.
Accordingly, the final GC and YC of the tour have won by our Jigna Amanuel Gebreigzabiher while the Mountains Classification (MC) by our own Mehari Tesfatsion.
Amanuel Gebreigzabiher, who had only come back after a terrible accident in the Tour of Rwanda four months ago, has bounced back quite beautifully.
The tall lanky athlete is also remembered for conquering the International Tour of Blida in his debut in Algeria last year. It must be one hell of a heroic performance by Team-Eritrea to pull it off against all odds and holding off a fierce fight from the colony of Algerian and other riders.
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ALSO READ : Amanuel Eyeing Another Win in the Tour de Constantine
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Cycling is not an individual sport except in the ITT. It’s a team sport and requires a chess-like team tactic and strategy. But again, even with that, don’t ask me how we did it with only four riders against a colony of 17 Algerian riders in their own home and in front of their own home fans.
It must be the usual never-kneel-down Eritrean grit. Pure and simple.
The only jersey we didn’t win is the Team classification, which we finished a resounding third behind two Algerian club teams that were far numerous. Even that by fielding only four riders after losing Meron Abraham last week and Mekseb Debesay just yesterday.
All credit to coach and legend Yonas Zekarias and his gritty riders.
Once again, congratulations Team Eritrea.