Eritrean rider Daniel Teklehaimanot becomes first African to wear Tour de France KOM jersey

by Matt de Neef LE HAVRE, France (CT) – There’s a real sense of excitement around the MTN-Qhubeka team at the 2015 Tour de France. The Pro Continental outfit is the first African-registered trade team to

by Matt de Neef

LE HAVRE, France (CT) – There’s a real sense of excitement around the MTN-Qhubeka team at the 2015 Tour de France. The Pro Continental outfit is the first African-registered trade team to race the Tour and, in its first outing in the race, MTN-Qhubeka is doing far more than simply making up the numbers.

On today’s sixth stage into Le Havre, one of the team’s two Eritreans, Daniel Teklehaimanot, got himself in the day’s breakaway with the express goal of landing the polka-dot jersey of the mountains classification leader. He managed exactly that, taking maximum points on the stage’s three, fourth-category climbs and overtaking stage 3 winner Joaquim Rodriguez in the KOM classification as a result.

In doing so, Teklehaimanot becomes the first African to wear the KOM jersey in the Tour de France and the first black African to wear a Tour de France classification jersey of any kind. In all, just three Africans have worn a leader’s jersey at the Tour de France: Robbie Hunter with the white jersey in 2001 and Daryl Impey with the yellow jersey in 2013.

“I’m really happy about what happened today. I can’t believe it,” Teklehaimanot said after the stage. “It is a big step for African cycling and I feel really proud at the moment because I have this jersey. That was my childhood dream to get the polka dot jersey at the Tour de France.”

“I followed exactly the team’s plan we had this morning; I made it in a group of three riders. After I scored two points, I was nervous that I wouldn’t take one more, otherwise I would be left with nothing.”

Despite being challenged by break-mate Perrig Quemeneur (Europcar), Teklehaimanot was able to score the necessary final point, securing the lead in the KOM classification. As team principal Doug Ryder told CyclingTips just before the end of the stage, Teklahaimanot has a particular affinity for the polka-dot jersey.

“Daniel actually said when he was wearing the jersey in the [Criterium du Dauphine] that it was the jersey that he always wanted to wear,” Ryder said. “The king of the mnountains jersey was a jersey that he felt was far more important than the yellow jersey because the yellow jersey’s all about biding your time and losing as little time as possible over a stage race.

“The king of the mountain jersey is all about showing aggression, being determined, taking chances. That’s our team; that’s African cycling.”

Back in June Teklehaimanot took control of the Criterium du Dauphine’s KOM classification on the opening stage and would hold it all the way to the end of the eight-stage race. It was the first jersey the team had won at a WorldTour race since its inception back in 2007.

Having the polka-dot jersey at the Tour de France takes things to the next level for MTN-Qhubeka, even if it is for one day so far.

“For him to wear it today … was a big objective of ours — to wear a leader’s jersey in the Tour de France, even for a couple days,” Ryder told CyclingTips just before the end of stage 6. “It’s going to motivate the team incredibly.

“Daniel’s going to go now and wear the leader’s jersey and stand on the podium at our first Tour de France. It’s incredible — this is honestly a dream come true race for us.”

Amazing celebrations in the team bus as Daniel Teklehaimanot secures the polka dot jersey at the Le Tour de France today!!!

Posted by Team MTN Qhubeka on Thursday, 9 July 2015

Review overview
  • Genet-orginal July 10, 2015

    Congratulation brother!!!!
    Proud of you. Keep up the good work.
    God bless you and the rest of our people.

  • Harnet July 10, 2015

    Viva Daniel!!! Made us Eritreans and Africans proud!!! I want to also congratulate Natnael and Merhawi. All three of you made us proud!!! You put Africa in the map of Tour de France.

  • mm July 10, 2015

    Daniel Congrats. Where ever you are please don’t go back. They will kill you. For your sake and for the sake of your people and your country pls seek assaylum and join the struggle.

  • AHMED SALEH July 10, 2015

    At times of darkness some people motivate others to believe in light of hope than the shadow which blind
    our vision from searching for bright future .
    I hope Daniel’s success inspire the young generation not to give up life under any circumstances because
    life had never been always fair to every human kind .

  • Bitibito July 10, 2015

    ኣትሌት ዘ-ተክለሃይማኖት ሓበን ኣፍሪቃ እዩ። ኩሉ ሰናይ ትምኒት ንደቡብ ኣፍሪቃዊት ጋንታ ኩቤካ ከምኡውን ንኩሉ ህዝቢ ሓበሻን
    ኤርትራን ድማ ብፍላይ። ካብቲ ገኒኑ ዘሎ ግናይ ስማ ኤርትራ ከምዚ ጥዑም ወረ ክት ሰምዕ ክንደይ ተኣምር እዩ።

    ኣሰርን ክብርን ቀዳሞት ኣፍሪቃውያን ኣትሌታት ከም እኒ ኣበበ በቂላ፣ ሃይለ ገብረስላሴ፣ ዘርኢሰናይ፣ መሰረት ደፋር፣ ቀነኒሳ ይስዓቦ። መጎስ ንኣንበሳ ዓቐብ ዘ ተክለሃይማኖት ፥ ክብሪ ነዚ ዕድል ዝ ሃበቶ ጋንታ ኩቤካን ምሕደራኣን።

    ንእግረ መገደይ ነቶም እስፖርት ብሽክለታ ኣብ ሃገርና ክጥጥዕ ዓቢ እጃም ዘበርከቱ ኣቦታትናን ኣያትትናን ንበዓል በርበረ፣ ተኽለ ሃብቱ፣ ካሕሳይ ሚካኤል ፣ ዘረኣጋብር ገብረሂወት፣ ካርሜሎ ሳላምቢኒ፣ ተስፋልደት ሓይሎም፣ ፍጸሓጽዮን ገብረየሱስ … ካለኦትን ጀጋኑ ተቐዳደምቲ ንዘክሮም።


  • Bitibito July 10, 2015

    I urge the esteemed website of Assenna to post an important article written by the British newspaper the Guardian linked below:

    Here is brief quote:

    It has been a long journey for the Eritrean. In 2010, he started catching the attention of European teams when he came first in the African Championship road race, won the individual and team time trials, and came first overall in the Tour of Rwanda. But Teklehaimanot’s entry to World Tour cycling was blighted by recurring visa problems, which sabotaged his chances to compete at the highest level with his team at the time, Orica-GreenEdge.

    “There are so many African riders – from Eritrea, South Africa and Rwanda – but it’s not easy to become a part of the big teams. We have to work hard, so I’m thankful for MTN-Qhubeka,” he explained.

    Kudus said he felt the same. “It’s not easy when you come from Africa. There should be more invitations, and more opportunity. Especially for places like Rwanda, where riders are becoming better and better. But we need more opportunities – it’s more difficult to get to Europe for us.”

  • salem khalifa July 11, 2015

    Mashallah Daniel. anbesa wedi ambesa. keep going. Raza nai abuo haza. thanks we are proud of you.

  • Kombishtato July 12, 2015

    congratulations to Daniel Teklehaimanot, MTN – Qhubeka of South Africa, his team mates and the African continent and the people of Eritrea.
    It is indeed a marvel and a wonder to hear from an Eritrean like Teklehaimanot, Merhawi
    and Natnaiel Berhane from a land of repression, slavery, suffering, kidnapping and endless pain inside Eritrea and in the neighboring Arab nations.

    Sport, like any cultural endeavor develops strong if left alone free from political interference. Is it irony that Eritrea’s sport, music and social development was at its best golden era under Emperor Haileselasie where the small city of Asmara was hosting five of the best African football teams in Africa, such as Adulis, Asmara Tele, Asmara Football Club – Hamasien, Mendefera and Embasoira, and the best Cycling Clubs which laid to the foundations of the present success for the likes of Teklehaimanot, such as Club Mai Leham – Logo chawa, Club Africa and Club Red Sea, as well as in boxing, athletics … in the 1960’s and 70s? So was this true in music and other arts.

  • Moses July 14, 2015

    How come non of the Ethiopian sites posted this victory which should make all Africans proud ?
    The answer is simple – Ethiopia does not want to hear or see any thing good about Eritrea..when there are bad news or some athlets not returning home after competition they post it all over thier websites. This is a good lesson for any Eritrean who has common sense. Opposing the governmnent is something but cheering for bad new and by taking sides with the enemy is unforgivable.