On yesterday's third stage, the heavily decimated team from Saarland set the base for this success. On the queen stage through the Divčibare mountains, the two of them built up a solid lead, celebrated the stage victory together and took the lead in the general classification.
However, the team was severely decimated due to illness and injury. So in the end, what was left was a "Two and a Half Men" show. "Of course I tried everything I could to help them. But on a mountain stage they are riding in a whole different league, fortunately. It's a pity, of course, that we had to start without Julian Lino, who got injured at the Tour of Romania. He would have been a good help in the mountains. And probably Léo Bouvier would have had good chances here in the sprint", said Matthias Schnapka.
Today's final stage also passed the Divčibare mountains. In the end, it was the same stage as the day before, only the other way around. So the two BIKE AID riders were mostly on their own and Dawit in the yellow jersey also had to work a lot in the front. A drop in temperature and rain showers did not make things easier. Crashes on the slushy descents were plentiful. But Adne and Dawit had gained a lot of respect in the peloton with their solo ride yesterday. So the race remained quite controlled overall and the two were able to defend their lead in the general classification.
"It's my first win in Europe and to win the GC at the same time is amazing. It makes me very proud and gives me confidence that I am on the right track," said Dawit Yemane. For Team BIKE AID, it is the next important stage race victory since Nikodemus Holler's overall win at the Tour of Thailand in 2021. The euphoria this victory is causing among the many Eritrean cycling fans is unbelievable.
"Of course, Biniam Girmay's successes in the World Tour are of a different dimension. Nevertheless, we are touched every time by the many positive reactions of Eritrean cycling fans. Our social media channels are on fire. This is cycling enthusiasm as we would like it to be and hopefully reignite it in Germany as well," adds Matthias Schnapka.
"For us it was an important victory at the right time. Last week Lucas won a stage in Romania and now follows the general classification. It gave me great pleasure to finish the race like this together with Dawit. Of course I am also happy about my second place, but most of all I am happy for Dawit, for whom this win means much more than for me," said Adne van Engelen, who now considers himself well prepared for the upcoming Tour of Iran.