Eritrean cycling star Daniel Teklehaimanot added to his growing list of honours with his second successive king of the mountains crown at the Criterium du Dauphine on Sunday, becoming the first rider in 20 years to retain the polka dot jersey.
The 27-year-old is an increasingly prominent member of the South African-based Team Dimension Data, Africa’s first outfit in cycling’s top-level UCI World Tour division. Racing since 2008, his first win of the mountains classification in the Dauphine last year led to a Tour de France showing that included a hold on the polka dot jersey from Stages 6-9. With teammate Merhawi Kudus, he became the first black African to ride the Tour.
He went on to finish 49th overall in the general classification.
His 44 points in this year’s Criterium du Dauphine were five better than fellow African Tsgabu Grmay of Ethiopia, riding for Lampre-Merida.
Teklehaimanot also finished 16th overall earlier this season in the Tour of California.
Quickly rising in the world of cycling and becoming an inspiration to other Africans in the sport, he told cyclingnews.com earlier this year: "I know someone else than me could have been the first black African rider at the Tour de France. But this is me. I was the first one in a Grand Tour, at the 2012 Vuelta, the first one in London Olympics, and the first one to compete in the Tour de France alongside Merhawi Kudus.
“This is life, this is my life and now I must take that responsibility.”
Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE
Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheNationalSport