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"He's a very good rider and a very good climber, and I think that he will be a leader in the future. He is doing his first Grand Tour. We don't know yet which one. Maybe the Tour de France or maybe the Vuelta a España,&q...

Photo: Tour of Turkey/Hakan Seker






02.03.2014 @ 21:01 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Natnael Berhane of Team Europcar has a chance of becoming the first Eritrean to participate in La Grande Boucle following his highly respectable results from last two seasons under the banner of the French World Tour team.


Berhane has kicked off his 2014 season with a bang, as he has won la Tropicale Amissa Bongo overall classification providing his team with the first victory as the World Tour squad and becoming the first African-born cyclist to triumph in this event.


In addition to that, the 23-year old Eritrean was belatedly awarded the Tour of Turkey victory after Mustafa Sayar’s triumph was eventually stripped from his palmares, what interestingly made Berhane one of the very few riders being announced winners of two different stage races in the same week.


"Sometimes it happens like that. Now my name is down as the winner of the Tour of Turkey. It's a little bit strange with first finishing second. At least I was on the podium," Berhane told Cyclingnews while participatingin the Tour of Langkawi.


With the young Eritrean significantly improving in his only second season as the professional cyclist, is comes as no surprise that Europcar’s sports director Andy Flickinger is considering his participation in the coming 101st edition of the Tour the France. If such planes came into fruition, rather obviously Berhane would ride in the supporting capacity to leaders of his French team with a main objective to gain a necessary experience in his grand tour debut.


"He's a very good rider and a very good climber, and I think that he will be a leader in the future. He is doing his first Grand Tour. We don't know yet which one. Maybe the Tour de France or maybe the Vuelta a España," he told Cyclingnews.


"If he does a Grand Tour it will be his first, so he will open his eyes and work for the leader."


Even more interestingly, performances of the 23-year old Eritrean are highly regarded in Africa, as the Team Europcar rider was announced the African sportsman of the year in 2013, beating the undeniable stars of football in the likes of Yaya Toure or Didier Drogba.


Even though Berhane’s participation in the Tour the France is yet to be confirmed, his racing calendar from earlier months of 2014 season is well defined and very tellingly full of mountainous races.


"I will race Catalunya, País Vasco, Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Romandie," Eritrean rider confirmed.



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