He moved before the season to BIKE AID and joined the German squad from the Dimension Data. The sustainable development and promotion of young, talented riders from Africa is the primary goal and core of the BIKE AID team. With this concept, BIKE AID is the only team in professional cycling that is purposefully and superficially takes care that athletes from the "black continent" can speak at least somewhat of "equal opportunities" –otherwise they are (not least because of ever-growing political barriers ) not even noticed by other teams. Until now riders from Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Togo and especially Eritrea wore or wear the jersey of BIKE AID. Now, for the first time ever an Ethiopian will wear the colours oft he German team.
His name is Hafetab and he comes from the region around Mekelle where world class marathon runners come from – in the high altitude of Ethiopia. He is 24 years old and has the dream that he shares with many who have already been to BIKE AID: Tour de France. He was on a good way , was member of Dimension Data's U23-team and was also able to convince through performance.
His 5th place in the GC of the Giro della Valle d'Aosta in Italy, where he was challenging the world's best U23 riders in the mountains is just one example.
But he is African and thus he is by nature already uninteresting for World Tour teams because one thing will be difficult with him: getting visas and entry permits, in order to make a reasonable season planning. But such a talent can not simply be left behind.
For this reason, BIKE AID has decided, although the squad had actually no more spots left, to offer Hafetab the opportunity to continue to demonstrate his skills.Tomorrow is the time. He stands at the start and shares the room with Mekseb Debesay, an Eritrean.
That would be worth a separate article if you look at the political past of both countries. It's like having a North and South Korean on the same team and sharing the room. But fortunately, (cycling) sport is overcoming barriers that are also leaving politics behind more and more in both countries (see also "After making peace, Ethiopia and Eritrea now focus on developent", UN.org)