THE completion of the final Criterium du Dauphine stage brought with it a tremendous amount of joy for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung as Daniel Teklehaimanot would win the King of the Mountians polka dot jersey, our African team’s first ever World Tour leaders jersey.
Starting the day with an unsurpassable lead, Daniel only needed to make sure he reached the finish line in Modane Valfrejus today, to secure the coveted climbers jersey. The stage would work out better than planned for MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung though as Steve Cummings would make the 13 rider break of the day. Steve would go on to be the strongest of the attackers today as he was the sole surviving escapee when the race hit the final 8.4km climb.
With a 1 minute lead Steve began the final climb. Surprisingly Team Astana decided to set the pace on the lower slopes of the climb, halving Steve’s advantage before fading away. Steve dug really deep after being on the attack for 150km but he was unfortunately caught at 2.5km to go when Chris Froome (Team Sky) put in his race winning attack. Froome rode to the stage and overall GC win ahead of Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing).
After Steve’s monumental effort today, the smiles in the MTN-Qhubkea p/b Samsung camp only got broader as Daniel made his way up the final climb to cross the line with the polka dot jersey secure on his shoulders. The jersey would be the sure highlight of an incredible week which also saw brilliant stage performances by Louis Meintjes, Edvald Boasson Hagen and the entire team in general.
Daniel Teklehaimanot – Rider
“I am very happy to win the climbers jersey. This is a very special result for me, it is like a dream. I am also happy for the team to get this jersey because you can see it means a lot for everyone as well. I have received a lot of support and nice words from many people in Eritrea and everywhere in the world. I am thankful for the team and I am happy that I can help promote our Qhubeka charity and 5000 bicycles campaign by winning this jersey. I will race the Tour de France with high motivation.”
Jens Zemke – Head of Performance
“To summarise our Dauphine, the last 8 days were absolutely incredible. To win the climbers jersey which is our first ever World Tour jersey, every day we were part of the action. We were in break, we were doing the leadouts and we were sprinting. We had incredible stage performances by Louis, even Steve today. These were amazing results for us and so the team rode incredibly well. We have our major goal of the year coming up in 3 weeks, the Tour de France and the team showed we are ready for it. To compete on such a high level as an African squad after only 3 years in professional cycling is superb. We are also happy to have the attention of the media so we can promote our project and our campaign to put 5000 kids on bicycles in South Africa. So I think the boys did an incredible job here and also the whole staff, everybody did a great job.”