By Alula Abraha,
IN THE most bizarre of circumstances, Eritrean cyclist Amanuel Gerezgiher, who had finished 2nd in sage-1 and 7th in stage-2, has found himself today leading the GC championship for the yellow Jersey.
Considering the fact that the 20-plus marauding Algerian riders making the race difficult to the already depleted Eritrean side of only five riders (with Meron Abraham out of the race), it must be a remarkable result.
In fact, considering the race condition, our Eritrean riders couldn’t have done better. Now with a cushy 48 second lead in the GC, Amanuel Gerezgiher looks certain to win the Tour international de Constantine in the last stage tomorrow.
The only trouble for tomorrow is that Eritrea’s inform rider Mekseb Debesay, who just finished third in stage-1, is out of the race because he, for reason not yet known, was unable to finish the race today.
Mekseb Debesay and his teammate’s effort must have helped destroy the field today to be able to put Amanuel Gerezgiher in a driving position with an advantage of 48 seconds ahead of the nearest Algerian.
Eight Algerians are right behind him in the GC, of which seven of them might fancy their chances to split the peloton tomorrow and increase the gap to reverse the result.
Now, in the run up to the last deciding stage tomorrow, team Eritrea has also found itself further handicapped with only 4 riders against an army of 17 Algerian riders ready to give our riders a hell of a race in front of their own fans.
With the help of only Mehari Tesfatsion, Aron Debretsion and Dawit Haile to count on in the final race tomorrow, Amanuel Gerezgiher needs every help he can muster from his teammates and is expected to show sheer Eritrean grit in terms of chasing the leading groups within a touching distance and keep on breathing down their necks, particularly, Abdelmalik Madani, at 48 seconds deficit.
But again, team Eritrea watching over this threat might give a chance for others to slip through the net and win it against all odds.
A time gap of separating Amanuel Gerezgiher and the 3rd place is 1:16 while the time gap between all the trailing Algerian rider from 3rd place to 8th is only 1:18, which is possibly recoverable, particularly with the Algerians presence in number and racing at home in front of their fans.
Team Eritrea needs to pull their best performance tomorrow to hold off the Algerians. Hopefully, Team coach, Yonas zekarias (“Halabay”) gets the tactic just right for such a difficult condition.