By BIKE AID
Meron Abraham is the reigning Eritrean champion, succeeding Daniel Tekleheimanot, the first African to wear a leading jersey in the Tour de France. If you’re crazy about national champions in this sport, cycling is sure to be a great fan base. Nevertheless, it is a long way to Europe and just as difficult to develop and maintain in the European professional field.
Meron Abraham got this opportunity at BIKE AID and has only been in Saarland for a few days. He already started at the Tour du Luxembourg and around Cologne, where he still struggled to cope with the power density.
Just as big is the challenge for a continental team to compete with the best teams in the world at the level of a Route d’Occitanie (formerly Route du Sud). BIKE AID has already managed to win an invitation to race this class several times. In 2016 we started at the Ruta del Sol in Spain, and in 2017 we were the only German continental team to receive the invitation to the Tour of the Alps in Italy. This is a tightrope walk, not to overwhelm the driver, to meet the organizer’s invitation and to let a team on a small budget against the million -weight World Tour teams start.
However, the team has evolved continuously and demonstrated what is possible this spring. Stage win by Lucas Carstensen in Gabon against sprinters like Adrien Petet. Stage win by Salim Kibkemboi at the queen stage of the Sharjah Tour in Saudi Arabia against well-known professionals. The regular top placings of Nicodemus Holler in the overall standings.
Now the team is at the start in the south of France, has to compete with Sky, Moviestar, Astana or Ag2r. And what happens? Meron Abraham manages to jump into the four-person lead group where he wins the 3 mountain scores of the day and the intermediate sprints.
At the end he is on the podium, receives the mountain jersey, the jersey of the leader in the junior ranking and is currently ranked 3rd in the overall ranking due to the time bonuses.
For BIKE AID, this is one of the biggest achievements in team history, a milestone in our project. Despite all the difficulties it shows that it is worthwhile to further develop this idea. The French media will be falling over this story tonight, Meron and BIKE AID on everyone’s lips. For several hours, BIKE AID and Meron took center stage in the live broadcast, many positive words were found by the commentators on our project. Let’s hope that the sponsors in Germany will find the courage to support such a project.