As has been widely speculated, Daniel Teklehaimanot will become the first cyclist from Eritrea in the professional peloton when he makes his debut with GreenEDGE Cycling in 2012.
According to GreenEDGE Cycling's General Manager, Shayne Bannan, "Daniel has been identified as a big talent for a while now and has had the support of the UCI's World Cycling Training Centre."
"His performance in the 2009 Tour de I'Avenir, where he finished sixth overall demonstrated his ability to mix it with quality riders," said Bannan. The race, which is seen by many as a crystal ball to the Tour de France was won by U23 Road World Champion Romain Sicard, ahead of Tejay Van Garderen, who made quite an impact at this year's Tour de France.
Last year Teklehaimanot took a clean sweep of the African Championships winning the road race and time trial, as well as leading the Eritrean team to victory in the team time trial. A week later he claimed overall victory in the Tour of Rwanda.
Racing against the best of African cycling, Teklehaimanot won the Kwita Izina Tour in June and is looking forward to going to GreenEDGE and making his professional debut in Europe next year.
According to Bannan, GreenEDGE won't be in any rush with the 22-year-old who has signed with the team for two-years.
"Daniel has spent the majority of the past few seasons juggling racing commitments between Europe and Africa so it will take him a little while to adjust to professional European racing. However, what we do know is he's a big talent who has shown a real desire for success and we intend on giving him all the support necessary to fulfil his potential."
Cycling is a tough sport but, having survived the tail end of a civil war and found his feet among six sisters and five brothers, Teklehaimanot's early experiences in life will hold him in good stead for the pioneering adventure that lies ahead.