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MTN-Qhubeka make more African history at TDF

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South African based MTN-Qhubeka continue to make headlines at this year’ Tour de France as Eritrean Daniel Teklehaimanot was the fast African rider to don the Polka Dot King of the Mountains jersey after Friday’s sixth stage.
Teklehaimanot got into the three-rider break of the day that got clear after just five kilometres of racing.
There would be three category four climbs on route today, with one point available to the first rider over the top of each climb. Perrig Quemeneur (Europcar) and Kenneth Vanbilsen (Cofidis) were the two riders to join Teklehaimanot in the break and it would turn out to be Quemeneur that would challenge Teklehaimanot for the mountain points throughout the stage.
In each of the mountain sprints Teklehaimanot 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.
That after after Daryl Impey’s time in the yellow jersey in 2013 and Robbie Hunter wearing the white jersey in 2001, Teklehaimanot also becomes the third African rider to wear any of the Tour de France leaders jersey’s in the history of the race.
With 5km to go the break had been caught. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen gunning for a good stage result and he was supported well by Reinardt Janse van Rensburg in the final 2km.
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). Boasson Hagen would cross the line in a decent seventh position to end off the best day in the history of our African team.
Said Teklehaimanot after his historic day in the saddle: ‘I’m 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. 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 people.
‘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.’
Friday’s seventh stage is pretty much a straightforward 190.5km ride between Livarot and Fougeres and experts reckon that this could the last stage of the tour that will feature a bunch sprint ahead of the final day in Paris!
Going into the stage MTN-Qhubeka find themselves maintaining 14th spot in the team standings, 13:33 behind BMC Racing.

Some more interesting stage six stats from Dimension Data:
120 km – the stretch of windy coastline along today’s route.
20 – the number of times Le Havre has been a stage town, making it one of the top five hosts of le Tour…after Pau (67), Paris (41), Alpe D’Huez (29), and GAP (23).
7% – steepest gradient of the stage: an 850m uphill climb of Côte d’Ingouville to the finish.
943.8 km – distance cyclists have travelled from the start in Utrecht.
188 riders started the day’s race.
39.108 km/h – the average speed on the stage.
33.63 km/h – average speed of fastest rider up Côte du Tilleul, Gregory Henderson (LTS).
75.89 km/h – top recorded speed on the stage by John Dagenkolb (TGA) at km 186.5.
49.09 km/h – top speed Teklehaimanot (MTN) reached just before the King of the Mountains point on Côte de Pourville-sur-Mer as the climb levelled out.
56.77 km/h – top speed on the intermediate sprint by Degenkolb (TGA) in the km before the Saint Leonard checkpoint.
36.13 km/h – speed of Van Bilsen (COF), who was ahead in the break, winning the intermediate sprint comfortably.
28.19 km/h – speed at which Tony Martin (EQS), crashed less than 1km from the finish line.


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