Saving the Best for Last at Criterium International de Blida

Algerian Abdelbaset Hannachi snatching the final victory from Eritrean Mekseb Debesay  at the Grand Tour of Algeria
Algerian Abdelbaset Hannachi snatching the final victory from Eritrean Mekseb Debesay at the last 99km race course of the Grand Tour of Algeria – Criterium International de Blida

By Alula Abraha,

Last of the 22 day of the Grand Tour of Algeria was full of drama.

IN the blink of an eye, Eritrean Mekseb Debesay had a certain victory snatched of him by non other than his sprinting rival Abdelbaset Hannachi.

An Algerian has won the Blida – Blida 99Km race course, where the Grand Tour of Algeria has finally concluded after 22 days of grueling races. 

During those last 22 days of races, this was the fourth time Abdelbaset Hannachi and Mekseb Debesay came head to head in a sprint finish where Mekseb had became victorious while Hannachi snatching the 4th one as well as once more before this one has helped him level the score at 2-2.

Mekseb’s attempt to increase his dominance against the Algerian top sprinter hasn’t materialised. However, for Hannachi, this victory is the only one that won him a yellow jersey where as his rival sprinter Mekseb has already won two Bling-Bling Gold medals already.

After brought in by his teammate to the front of the bunch for the last posing to the print finish, Mekseb gave his all but couldn’t pip Hannachi “the Snatcher” on the finishing line obviously because of a strong challenge from the usual army of Algerian huffing and puffing in great numbers to get their man positioned on the best lane for the last rush-dash sprint finish.

After what had happened on Friday, this would have been sweeter, but Alas. After all, 2nd place ain’t that bad.

Now we say farewell to the Grand Tour of Algeria and welcomes the Tour of Morocco challenge starting this coming weekend but with different crops of riders that includes the 2013 African Road champion, Tesfom Ogbamariam, amongst them and coached by another legend, Samson Solomon.

After Morocco, our pro riders Daniel Teklehaimanot, Natnael Berhane and the 1st ever Tour de France 2015 rider from black Africa, Merhawi Kudus are also expected to feature in the Tour of Madiba in South Africa later in April.

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