By Alula Abraha,
Four Eritrean riders are confirmed to take part in the 153Km Trefeo Serra De Tramuntana race course in Spain later today (Monday).
Natanel Berhane for EuropCar, Daniel Teklehaymanot, Jani Tewolde and Meron Russom for MTN Qhubeka are all expected to excel in today’s one day race.
The fact that the race course has half a dozen of climbs, including a double 2nd category climbs as well as one 1st category steep climb with gradient as steep as 10% and rising nearly 1000m in less than 20km stretch, makes the race more interesting. Besides, a great team tactic requires tackling the tricky race course whose summit of the last 1st category climb is at only 15km away from the finish line. That is not much different from that of the killer Sey-Dici climb up the Massawa-Asmara road that our riders are used to.
Daniel might fancy his chance here today. Meron, Jani and Natanel had been involved in another one-day races only last weekend. While Natnael was amongst a massive 160 riders finishing in a close bunch, Jani and Meron had finished a few second away from the bunch.
Today’s race is going to be Natnael’s third race in a space of only 4 days and he seems to be using these one-day races as a race runs/practices for his most important Tour de Langkawi coming up later this month in Malaysia. As a team leader for that tour in Malaysia, he seems to be focused on it but Freqalsi, as a team leader of his MTN team too, is also expected to give Natnael a run for his money.
But today’s race that involves a lot of climbing is something Natnael might fancy going for. A lack of positioning and tight space has been hindering many sprinters including Natnael in the weekend’s sprint finish that we all know he is superb at. But again, Daniel, who will be racing in the 5-staged Veulta a Andalucia next week, also fancy his chances in the climbs. However, he is expected to play a cameo-role in support of his teammates, Jani and Meron as team leaders.
Apart from Adrian Niyoshuti of Rwanda, the four Eritreans are the only black Africans amongst 176 riders today.
If the team tactic works, Jani will scoop it. But the one-day expert and Africa’s king time trialist, Daniel, might nick it. It’s remembered that Daniel had won a similar one-day race last year riding for his former team Orica GreenEdge after coming from the colds.
Since Daniel had won his record 3rd continental ITT and TTT in Ougadougou in November 2012, he hadn’t raced for over half a year until that tough one day race last June, where he won quite comfortably after catching one sneaky escapee and got into a time trial mode to wear him out. He left him for dead and if he uses the same tactic again, Daniel can be unplayably tough to beat.
But again, before sprinting down the finishing line (point-k), the race will most certainly be won 15 km before it, between point i & j as shown on the map.
Who will win today’s Trefeo? Jani, Meron, Natneal, Daniel or none of them?
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