Sun, Aug 25, 2013 - Page 18 News List

FEATURE: Eritrean cyclists pedal country onto world stage

AFP , ASMARA

Yet the mood remains optimistic that the sport will continue to grow here.

Many of the country’s professional cyclists, Meron included, prefer to return home to train in the country’s high altitude, temperate weather and varied terrain good for both mountain biking and road racing, which some feel gives Eritreans a competitive edge over other African riders.

National pride is anther push for Meron.

Although Kenyan-born Chris Froome won this year’s Tour de France, he carried a British flag. Meron hopes that one day there will be an African — and specifically an Eritrean — winning that most famous of cycle races.

“Here in Eritrea, everybody knows us, when we pass in the road, they call us by our name, so they give us a big boost,” he said. “That’s why we are still racing and riding, because of our people.”

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