Tropical heat, palm trees and a daily up and down over countless hills. The boys from BIKE AID proteam started the season at the 12th edition of the "La Tropicale Amissa Bongo", which took 7 stages through the West African country at the equator and ended last Sunday. At the start were also famous Tour de France teams such as Direct Energie from France and among them their "star" and multiple wearer of the yellow jersey at the Tour de France Thomas Voeckler.
t is always difficult what to expect before the first race of the season. Where does one stand? Did the training "hit"? How well can the new riders be integrated? At the beginning of a season, there are always many question marks, but they are usually answered quite fast, once the start has been given.
Since the team is already participating in this tour for the third time, you know in advance what will happen to you. Particularly the riders of the African national teams are always highly motivated when they can compete with the european professional teams. This doesn't make it easy at all for the european teams, as it is a whole contradiction to the „european way of riding“ and controlling a bunch. Again and again the guys from the "black continent" are motivating themselves and mobilize their seemingly endless forces to attack one after the other and thus make the race very unrhythmic.
But over the seven days, the guys from BIKE AID got along with it very well and were able to convince with many good stage results, including a third place of Meron Teshome (Eritrea) at stage four. Since the entire team was always fighting for each other and worked with a real teamspirit, Nikodemus Holler achieved the best result so far in a stage race of this category. With a hard attack on the fourth stage, Niko was in third place in the overall ranking, that the entire team achieved to defend until the end of the tour.
With Meron Teshome, another rider from BIKE AID landed in the top 10 of the overall ranking, and the team from the Germany got only beaten by the Moroccan national team and ranked second in the team classification, in front of team Direct Energie (Procontinental team, France).
However, it was particularly pleasing to see how the new riders were integrated into the team and comitted themselves to the common goal. Especially the youngster Salim Kipkemboi (18 years) from Kenya showed what potential he possesses and could convince by his smart riding style and also a seventh place at a stage.
A successful start into the young season 2017 and an unforgettable week in a country with so many facets and incredibly friendly people - Africa is always worth a trip for BIKE AID!