NATNAEL Berhane put in a magnificent performance to win the Eritrean national road race championships this morning.
In what would be a hotly contested race with a field of around 150 starters. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung lined up with Natnael Berhane, Daniel Teklehaimanot and Merhawi Kudus all eager to make a challenge for the coveted national jersey.
Riders would take on 196km around Asmara and there would be an early attack of 4 riders, including Natnael, Meron Teshome, Metkel Eyob (WCCA MTN-Qhubeka) and one other local rider. The quartet went clear inside the first 15km of racing and few would have given them much hope of staying clear of the strong field. Natnael had other ideas though.
With Merhawi and Daniel marking the countless attacks coming from the field, Natnael was able to drive the lead out to a maximum advantage of 4 minutes. The attacks did not stop though and with 50 kilometers to go 7 riders, including Merhawi and Daniel would bridge to the 4 leaders. Almost immediately Natnael attacked the new lead group and he would not be seen again.
A number of counter attacks came from the chasers but with Daniel and Merhawi marking each move, Natnael was able to open his gap to just over a minute and then held his advantage to the line in what would be a sterling performance. Massive credit must also go to Daniel and Merhawi for being the perfect teammates today.
Tesfom Okubamariam (WCCA MTN-Qhubeka) would finish 2nd and local rider Amanuel Gebreigzabhier claimed 3rd place.
Jean-Pierre Heynderickx – Sport Director
“It was a very good performance from the guys today. It was a flat race so we had to make the racing really tough. Berhane was already in the break by 20km and he made it to the end. Everybody was looking at us today but with good team work and a good strategy we were able to win the jersey. I was really impressed with the number of crazy Eritrean cycling fans here in Eritrea, it was great to see.“
Natnael Berhane Champion of Eritrea 2015
Natnael Berhane, member of the MTN, South African Cycling Team, has become the champion of Eritrea 2015 cycling race which covered 190 kilometers.
Tesfom Okbamariam and Amanuel Gebrezgiabhier have stood second and third respectively.
Mr. John Terry, coach of the MTN team, appreciated the talent the professional cyclist Natnael demonstrated during the competition. He also expressed his high regard for the country’s potential in the cycling race.
In the track race that was conducted on Friday, Daniel Teklehaimanot has been the winner of the gold medal.
Daniel Teklehaimanot and Merhawi Kudus are due to participate in the prestigious Tour De France that would begin on 4 July representing the MTN team. It is for the first time that Eritrean cyclists are taking part in this world class cycling race.
#NatRR Eritrean Champs Results:
1st Natnael Berhane (MTN)
2nd Tesfom Okbamariam (MTN Feeder)
3rd Amanuel Gebrezgabiher
— Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team (@Q36_5ProCycling) June 28, 2015