African rider happy with climb

Eritrea's Daniel Teklehaimanot donning the best climber's polka-dot jersey.
Eritrea's Daniel Teklehaimanot donning the best climber's polka-dot jersey.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

LE HAVRE (France) • Daniel Teklehaimanot said he had achieved his goal after snaring the Tour de France polka-dot jersey from Joaquim Rodriguez on Thursday.

The 26-year-old Eritrean was part of a three-man breakaway on the 189.5km sixth stage from Abbeville to Le Havre and took all the climbing points on offer to claim the king of the mountains jersey off Spaniard Rodriguez.

Having already become the first black African to ride in the Tour alongside compatriot Merhawi Kudus, his MTN Qhubeka team-mate, he also became the first African to don the polka-dot jersey.

"I am really happy to take the jersey. It is a big step for African cycling and I feel really proud at the moment because I have this jersey," he said.

"I am excited to be able to show my team's colours on the podium because we are trying to give 5,000 bicycles to African students - being on the podium will help our project and I want to help make a difference for my African people."

Teklehaimanot is a talented climber who won the king of the mountains jersey at last month's Criterium du Dauphine, one of two week-long stage races alongside the Tour of Switzerland that are the main pre-Tour warm-up events.

After that, he stated his aim for the Tour was simply to wear the polka-dot jersey, even if only for a day.

With only one mountains-jersey point up for grabs in yesterday's seventh stage, Teklehaimanot stands a good chance of holding on to the jersey as he leads Rodriguez by a point.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2015, with the headline 'African rider happy with climb'. Print Edition | Subscribe