Cape Town - The 6th stage of the Tour de France would
be a historical day for African cycling as Daniel Teklehaimanot became the
first African rider to pull on the Polka Dot best climbers jersey and only the
3rd African ever, to wear a leader’s jersey at the Tour de France.
Daniel set off in pursuit of history when he got into the 3
rider break of the day that got clear after just 5km of racing. There would be
3 category 4 climbs on route today, with 1 point available to the first rider
over the top of each climb. Perrig Quemeneur (Europcar) and Kenneth
Vanbilsen (Cofidis) were the 2 riders to join Daniel in the break and it would
turn out to be Quemeneur that would challenge Daniel for the mountain points
throughout the stage.
In each of the mountain sprints Daniel would show great
awareness and strength to be able to get the better of the Frenchman, ensuring
he would be the first African rider ever to pull on the King of the Mountains
Polka Dot jersey at the Tour de France. After Daryl Impey's time in the yellow
jersey in 2013 and Robbie Hunter wearing the white jersey in 2001, Daniel also
becomes the 3rd African rider to wear any of the Tour de France leaders
jersey's in the history of the race.
It was difficult to concentrate on the stage conclusion after
Daniel had secured the jersey but in the end, with 5km to go the break had been
caught. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had Edvald Boasson Hagen gunning for a good
stage result and he was supported well by Reinardt Janse van Rensburg in the
There would be a crash just after passing the 1km to go banner,
right at the front of the bunch which disturbed proceedings. Zdenek Stybar
(Etixx-Quickstep) took advantage of the confusion to jump clear and opened up
enough of a gap to take the stage win ahead of Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and
Bryan Coquard (Europcar). Edvald would cross the line in a decent 7th position
to end off the best day in the history of our African team.
"I am really happy to take the jersey." said Teklehaimanot.
"It is a big step for
African cycling and I feel really proud at the moment because I have this
"I am excited to be able to show my team’s colours on the podium because
we are trying to give 5000 bicycles to African students, being on the podium
will help our project and I want to help make a difference for my African
"It was always our plan to get this polka dot jersey so I am happy we
could do it. I am proud to be African and I am proud to be Eritrean.
"This is a
day I will never forget."
On Friday, Teklehaimanot will look to fend off any attacks on his new jersey in Stage 7 which takes the riders on a 190.5km ride from Livarot to Fougères.