BY CYCLING NEWS
Cofidis have signed another WorldTour rider, picking up Natnael Berhane from Dimension Data for the 2019 season. The Eritrean replaces his compatriot and former teammate Daniel Teklehaimanot, who has not received a contract extension.
In 2015 he joined the South African Dimension Data team – then MTN-Qhubeka – and has ridden the three Grand Tours with the team but hasn’t managed to add to his win tally since landing the Eritrean national title in 2015.
“I am the happiest of men because I really wanted to come back and race in France after those two great years with Europcar. Cofidis were on my radar and I didn’t hesitate before signing my contract. The team performed strongly throughout the season and finished very strongly, notably at the Vuelta,” Berhane said in an announcement from the team.
“As I’m an all-rounder, I will have the chance to work for team leaders in the different races, but I will also be able to show myself in the stage races where I have achieved my best results. One thing’s for sure, I’m going to give my all for the team and I’m confident about what we can achieve.”
With the signing of Berhane, Cofidis finalized their 2019 roster with 28 riders.
After signing the Herrada brothers from Movistar last year, Berhane joins Darwin Atapuma (UAE Team Emirates), Jesper Hansen (Astana), and Marco Mathis (Katusha-Alpecin) as the latest recruits from WorldTour outfits. Former Sunweb rider Zico Waeytens has also joined from Veranda’s Willems-Crelan, while Damien Touzé, Filippo Fortin, and Victor Lafay will all turn pro with the team next year.
On his way out is Teklehaimanot, who only joined the team in February after being released by Dimension Data at the end of last year and failing to find a team. Also leaving are the Turgis brothers, Jimmy and Anthony, and Daniel Navarro.
“In planning for next season, I wanted to strengthen the quality of the squad. It’s for that reason that I’ve been looking at WorldTour riders,” said Cofidis manager Cédric Vasseur.
“Natnael has proven his ability to compete at that level and to take on different roles thanks to his all-round qualities. He has matured, and we also want to give him the chance to win races again after putting himself at the disposal of others. Cofidis, with its 28 riders from eight different nations, will, therefore, be well equipped to compete at every level and the group as a whole can benefit from that cultural richness.”