Eritreans a Tour de Force

The Tour De France 2015 was a year of firsts for Africans. It was the first year that an African team entered the event. MTN-Qhubeka, a team made up of Africans from around the continent has gained much deserved praise for their involvement.

Two of the team’s Eritrean riders, Daniel Teklehaimanot and Merhawi Kudus made history as the first black African riders to compete for the Polka Dot Jersey and a title of King of the Mountains. A victory claimed by Daniel Teklehaimanot, now the first African rider to don the Polka Dot Jersey after leading the competition for four days.

‘To race in the Tour de France and to have been able to wear the KOM jersey for a few days is a dream come true for me. I am very happy to be able to represent Eritrea and Africa on a world stage. It is a historic moment and it feels only good to be here,’ said Teklehaimanot.

Eritrea’s capital Asmara is located on the top of a mountain and has been dubbed ‘the city in the clouds’ due to its high altitudes. Teklehaimanot and Kudus were well prepared for the race through the mountains.

The cyclists impressed a crowd of about 800 000 people and a global audience including the millions of Eritreans in the country and in the diaspora and Africans all around the world.

arrow Read Manal’s opinion piece on this topic – ‘A bittersweet victory’

PHOTOS: Jerred Gruber / Ashley Gruber




Manal is a Spoken Word Poet and activist of Eritrean origin who is currently completing her International Relations Degree at UniSA.

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