The Story of the Two Inseparable Riders – Bereket and Daniel
Bereket Yemane became the latest cycling Tour of Eritrea 2009 winner that wrapped up on Sunday 20th December entertaining 9 different national teams, 3 of which are from Eritrea. Bereket, one of the young Eritrean riders, is better known for his climbing and chronometer or time trial skills in local and international competitions. He has proved his talent in the 2006 ANOCA competition in Kenya, in the 2007 African Championship in Cameroon, in the 2008 African Championship in Morocco and in the 2008 Tour of Ivory Coast. On 27 September 2009, Bereket was on the verge of retaining the 2009 Central Region Cycling championship. But he missed the opportunity as he was beaten and dominated on the last stage by Meron Russom.
Earlier, in 2008, Bereket Yemane was also on the edge of claiming Eritrea’s 2008 Cycling Championship that wrapped up in an incredibly speedy sprint at Bahti Meskerem square. It was too difficult for the local cycling federation to differentiate Daniel Teclehaimanot from Bereket Yemane with almost parallel sprinting finish. The riders and fans had to wait for about 40 minutes to know the result of the sprint that defined Eritrea’s 2008 Cycling Champion. Bereket Yemane was awash with tears in front of the crowd of fans at the Square as Daniel Teclehaimanot cracked a smile after it was announced that Daniel’s wheel crossed the line first.
“It was one of my saddest days on the saddle” remembers Bereket as he still finds it too difficult to accept that missed chance. Although he is still very young, he had been looking for that kind of tangible and historic national victory for a long while. Soon after the 2008 Eritrean Cycling Championship competition, Daniel headed to Switzerland for an advanced UCI training as Bereket concentrated on local competitions here in Asmara.
10 months after his advanced UCI training course, Daniel returned back home and took part in the first international Tour of Eritrea 2009 together with Bereket, lining up in the same Eritrean National Team A. Not surprisingly, Daniel became the winner of the first stage that headed to Mendefera from Keren. But more surprisingly Bereket followed Daniel to a second place in the stage. Some people started raising their foreheads wondering if Daniel and Bereket are going to get entwined in a championship circle of fierce competition inseparably.
Daniel’s stage one victory of the tour was his first competition after his return to Eritrea from Switzerland. About 11 months ago, Daniel left Eritrea grabbing 2008 Central Region Cycling championship. What could his first stage victory on his first competition back home bring about?
Daniel has been participating in the tour since 2004. But this time, the 1.91 meter tall talented rider is in a class of his own compared to others. Daniel’s stage one victory in this tour was certainly a moral boost. However, despite his efforts that made him the most combative rider, it was too difficult for him to bring the overall leader’s yellow jersey back on his back once he lost it on the second stage.
Daniel and Bereket have been in each other’s pocket as the tour progressed from stage to stage. Before Daniel won the first stage of Tour of Eritrea 2009, he was a winner of the climbing contest on his was at AdiKelom. Bereket followed him to a second place both on the mountain and the stage. The day after, as the tour set out to Dekemhare on stage two, Bereket stood fifth as Daniel followed him to sixth place losing the battle for the yellow jersey to Amanuel Kibreab. Daniel and Bereket’s strong tie was further witnessed as they followed each other on the fourth stage the climbed up the swelling mountains to Asmara from the port city Massawa. Bereket stood 5th leaving Daniel, 6th, in almost three minutes time. This was the stage where Bereket Yemane proved that he could be Tour of Eritrea winner. In this particular stage, Bereket won his first tour jersey. In fact, he took a blue jersey for his mountain finish, yellow jersey for his fast time in the general classification and white jersey as the best young rider of the tour. Thus, it was Daniel’s turn to follow Bereket in second place in the yellow and white jersey classifications. Bereket was determined not to lose the honor he achieved on the eve of the final stage the moment he climbed on the stage and wore the jersey. On the final Asmara Criterium stage, Bereket Yemane, with the help of his teammates including his inseparable partner Daniel Teclehaimanot, clinched the best victory of his sporting life as the winner of the first international Tour of Eritrea 2009.
The victories of Bereket and Daniel are not limited to only local competitions. Every time they head to African countries representing Eritrea, they closely follow each other in the standings. At the 2007 African championship in Cameroon, Bereket was time trial bronze medalist as Daniel stood 5th. A year later, at the 2008 African championship in Morocco, Daniel stood 5th as Bereket followed him to 6th place in the time trial race.
There surely is something between the newly crowned king of Tour of Eritrea 2009 Bereket Yemane and the most impressive rider Daniel Teclehaimanot.
It is not to be forgotten that Amanuel Kibreab who snatched the yellow jersey from Daniel Teclehaimanot before Bereket Yemane possessed it for good stole a deserved attention during the tour. Tour of Eritrea 2009 was Amanuel’s first ever tour race. But last year, as he was finalizing his preparations for Tour of Eritrea 2008, he had an accident that in which his left toe was severed, preventing him from participating in the tour. A year after his accident, Amanuel managed to make it to Eritean national cycling team A as he was picked up by Eritrea’s Australian coach Radek Valenta.