Realistically, it would have been probably too much to expect a place in the top 20 in the GC of this race, regarding the more than prominent names on the start-list of Tour d’Occitanie 2018.Suleiman who? Or Meron what? Something like that the names of the boys from BIKE AID might have sounded before the start to the cycling fans in France.
But at the latest after the first stage at the jersey of BIKE AID and the name Meron Abraham were on everyone's lips. With a great day in the breakaway group, he secured all calssifications and thus the mountain jersey, as well as the youth classification. He was also third in the overall standings - for one night.Already the next day Meron had to pay tribute to his exertions and lost time on the second stage. Even during the strenuous climbing through the Pyrenees (almost 200 km and 5 passes), the guys from BIKE AID had to learn that the pace of the world's best is super high.
Even though the guys only dropped at the last climb, it was still possible to gain important insights: "The races at this level are from the start at a very different pace. Since you have to get used to it first and every little mistake costs enormous power and will be punished. Right there, we have to gain more experience and adapt with our riders from Africa ", Timo Schäfer commented on the performances.
Nevertheless, the performances should be considered in the right context and so, for example, a solid place in the middle of the overall classification by Salim Kipkemboi (19 years) - after all, even bin front of many "Tour de France riders" – is a quite positive result. But one thing is clear: it is still a long and hard way to the finish and the project always needs exactly such races to readjust the bar and draw the relevant insights.