For the first time in the Tour of Eritrea history, a foreign team snatched the Yellow Jersey from our national team [… well… with the help of an Eritrean of course]
MTN-Qhubeka’s promising rider, Jani Tewelde has won the 89km long stage one competition of the Tour of Eritrea at a time of 2:25’42”. He comfortably took the lead in this UCI 2.2 rated race.
The win is also the first Yellow Jersey win for Jani Tewelde and his team. This phenomenon makes him the first foreign team player to win the Yellow Jersey, for the first time, in the history of the Tour of Eritrea.
Mekseb Debesay from team Red Sea Camels and Yemane Bereket from Eritrean National Team finished second and third respectively followed by MTN-Qhubeka’s Tesfay Abraha.
As was widely predicted, this year’s tour is getting pretty much of a two horse competition between local Eritrean talents versus professional Eritrean riders from MTN.
However, last year’s Tour of Eritrea winner but now MTN-Qhubeka rider Meron Russom was expected to dominate the race. Unfortunately, he got in to some kind of technical difficulty which his team hopes to sort out before the coming stage competition. Nonetheless, he managed to finnish the competition ninth place, which is 51 seconds behind his racemate and winner Jani Tewelde.
The Tour of Eritrea has five stages with over 15 teams competing; including national teams from Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Cameroon, Eritrea and Rwanda, as well as MTN-Qhubeka, which comprised of professional cyclists from three different African nations namely Eritreans, South Africans and a Namibian.
Thursday’s Stage 2 of the tour comprises a 115km route from Massawa to Asmara including two climbs at the 55km and 99km marks.
MTN-Qhubeka Team Manager Kevin Campbell believes that the team will fare well on the mountainous terrain and notes that he hopes to see the team’s Eritrean riders, Russom, Tewelde and Habtemariam, take top honours in their home country.
– – – – – – – – – –
– – – – – – – – – –
STAGE – 1 RESULT: Mendefera – Dekemhare (89km)
1. Jani Tewelde (MTN-Qhubeka) – 2:25’42”
2. Mekseb Debesay (Red Sea Camels)
3. Bereket Yemane (Eritrean National Team)
4. Tesfay Abraha ( MTN-Qhubeka)
5. Azzedine lagab (Algeria)
6. Van Rensberg (MTN-Qhubeka)
7. Dawit Haile (Red Sea Camels)
8. FreKalsi Debesay (Eritrean National Team) – 2:26’33”
9. Meron Russom (MTN-Qhubeka)
10. Hasim Chabani (Algeria)
YELLOW JERSEY WINNER: Jani Tewolde (MTN-Qhubeka)
1. Awet Ghebremedhin (Eritrean National Team)
2. Frekalsi Debesay (Red Sea Camels)
3. Kindshih Debesay (Red Sea Camels)
1. Red Sea Camels Team ( 7:17’06”)
2. MTN-Qhubeka (-6”)
3. Eritrean National Team (– 1’42”)
– – – – – – – – – – –