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"For me stepping up to a World Tour team is a very great encouragement and it pushes me to work hard for the future in order to reach the biggest dream of my life: to race in the Tour de France," Grmay says

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19.11.2014 @ 14:36 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After signing Taiwanese rider Chun Kai-Feng, Lampre-Merida continues to expand its horizons. Today the team has announced its first signing of an African rider, Tsgabu Grmay who will join the team from MTN-Qhubeka.

 

From the highlands of Ethiopia to the roads of the WorldTour cycling scene. This is the path Tsgabu Gebremaryan Grmay has chosen, the first Ethiopian cyclist to have signed with the WorldTour team Lampre-Merida.

The 23-year-old climber has signed a contract for the 2015 season with the blue-fuchsia-green formation, becoming the second African athlete in the history of the team (the first being Robert Hunter).

Born in Mekele, Ethiopia on the 25 August, 1991, 175 cm tall and with a weight of 63 kg, Grmay began to refine his potential in cycling in 2010 and 2011 at the World Cycling Centre (CMC) in Aigle, Switzerland where he spent a two-year period during which he took part in various European competitions for amateurs.

The turning point came in 2012 when he turned professional with the MTN Qhubeka team: his best results as a pro include two titles as Ethiopian road champion, two titles as Ethiopian time trial champion, a stage win and second place in the overall standings at the 2013 Tour of Taiwan.

The technical staff and management of Lampre-Merida saw an opportunity in Grmays' climbing qualities and abilities which are believed to still have room for improvement as highlighted by the team manager Brent Copeland:

 

"The climbing qualities of Tsgabu has been refined day after day, not only due to his training area where he lives at an altitude of 2400 meters in the highlands of Ethiopia, but also due to his mentality and culture of giving consistent hard work and dedication to bring out the best in himself as an athlete and a person.

 

"I already knew Grmay for his militancy at MTN Qhubeka and I appreciated his character and the natural talent he has for cycling for which I believe there is room for growth and improvement. He is one of our many investments for the future, one in which we believe to bring an exponent of African cycling to the world's pro tour cycling scene.


"This opportunity which Tsgabu has, is something I believe will contribute to help bring out the best in him in order for him to show his true potential."

"For me stepping up to a World Tour team is a very great encouragement and it pushes me to work hard for the future in order to reach the biggest dream of my life: to race in the Tour de France," Grmay said. "I am very happy and lucky to be with Team Lampre-Merida. I am the first Ethiopian rider to sign with a WorldTour team, so I am very proud about that as well and I want to thank Lampre-Merida so much for this great opportunity."

By signing Gramy, Lampre-Merida opens its doors to yet another cycling scene, namely the African continent, after already showing its interest in the Asian cycling world.


The team management believes strongly in the development of African cycling and in the possibility of having African cyclists at the top level of professional racing in the future.

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