Less than one week from start of the 9th edition of the Tropicale Amissa Bongo, Natnael Berhane appears as one of the favorites for overall standing.
The Eritrean who had created a sensation in 2011 when he was beaten in the sprint by professional riders at the arrival of the last stage in Libreville has since this time passed levels one by one, with a serenity that suggests big ambitions.
After going professional in French Europcar in 2013, he will enter at the Tropicale its second season in the top level with increased experience. On the Gabonese roads, it will be considered by his team now in UCI World Tour as a leader with Yohann Gene, winner of the 2013 edition.
For one year, he spent a lot of things for the young rider of Eritrea. Elected by a jury chaired by Bernard Hinault as the best African Cyclist of the Year 2012 (this trophy was created by the organizers of the Tropicale Amissa Bongo) Natnael Berhane assumed perfectly his role of African leader.
He has won a prestige stage of the Tour of Turkey on hardest mountain roads before failing for first place in the final standings in the last days. But it could still be designated as the final winner as Turkish winner Mustafa Sayar tested positive and should be officially decommissioned soon. The Tour of Turkey was for Natnael Berhane like a real start in his career, providing confidence that still lacked to him at this level.
The African public has understood it and voted overwhelmingly for him on the website Africa Topsport to designate him as the African Sportsman of the Year in 2013 ahead of the best footballers of the continent. This recognition is also that of the African cycling which is booming.
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The Eritrean National Cycling team will participate on the 9th edition of the Tropical Amissa Bongo 2014 in Gabon from 13-19 January.
The team will consist of cyclists Meron Amanuel, Meron Teshome, Kindishih Debesay, Metkel Eyob, Amanuel G/Hier and this year’s African Cycling Champion Tesfom Okubamariam.
TesfaNews can not verify independently the participation of Natnael Berhane to the tournament though the article above claimed he is. Good luck Team Eritrea.
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