The 5th and last stage should again demand all from the riders that they could give. Heat, Climbs, wind and flat stages – all of this the Tour of Eritrea had to show so far. But what should wait for the riders at this day, they could not even imagine when they started in comfortable Massawa at Eritrea’s coastline.
The guys still were in good mood when they left this old and historic city down at sea level not really knowing, what suffering they would have to stand the upcoming kilometers. That Eritrea has to offer also endless climbs they should learn during this day from Massawa back to the capital Asmara at 2400 m altitude.
We all might know the Alps and the roads crossing these gigantic mountains during the Tour the France, such as Col du Télégraphe, L’Alpe dHuez or Col de la Madeleine. All of them are hard and epic roads with about 20 to 25 Kilometers of climbing. But at this day, the guys had to climb 60 kilometers somewhere in east Africa.
We can all imagine what pain and what kind of suffering this must be to bring this behind. After more than 2 hours of climbing and 4 hours race the average speed was “only” at 28 Kilometers an hour as they finished the stage after 113 Kilometers in total. This kind of experience you can not gain here in Europe – but on the other hand side it is allowed to raise the question, if it is really necessary to make this kind of experience? But when you would ask this question to any of the riders after the finish, the vast majority of them would give a clear YES as answer – even though this has a bit of masochism, if you look from the outside, but this is what cyclist are like.
The feeling of pure luck from all of them is hard to describe, the moment when you cross the finish line and you know: “I made it!” And when you could let you celebrate on the podium after such hard suffering, that makes it even more feel great.
So it was also Meron Amanuel from Team Stradalli – BIKE AID who could make the step to the top of the Podium and receive his green jersey, as he won the General sprint classification of the tour. Sure it was a great feeling for Meron to present himself, the colours of the team and his new green jersey to his compratiots in Asmara!
He also finished 7th at the stage and took place 8 in General Classification. Meron showed a great performance and proofed that he is ready for the upcoming races in Europe.
Well done and keep it up!