VeloClub is CyclingTips’ membership program which brings us closer to our members, and connects likeminded cycling enthusiasts.
by Shane Stokes
January 11, 2018
Wellens refuses to use inhalers despite his asthma, debates TUE use; British Cycling chief executive disappointed news of Froome’s positive test was leaked; Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah host venues announced; Hanson’s nationals ride seals slot on UniSA Team for Santos Tour Down Under; Defending champion Spratt on chances of repeat Santos Tour Down Under win; Girdlestone reaches the next stage of his comeback; Israel Cycling Academy signs African refugee for two seasons; Hour record holder Marchand retires….at 106 years of age; Video: Katusha-Alpecin 2018: New season, new riders; Video: Wiggle-High5 – Tour Down Under preview – New athletes for 2018; Video: Riding Fixed, Up Mountains, With Pros. – Ep. 3 Red Rock Canyon w/ Floyd Landis & Dave Zabriskie; Photo: Edmondson debuts new national champion’s jersey
The Israel Cycling Academy team has announced a new signing, revealing that the Eritrean refugee Awet Gebremedhin will race with the team until the end of 2019. “I still cannot believe it,” the climber said. “I waited for this opportunity almost all my life and there were moments of darkness and despair when I almost lost any hope that this miracle could actually happen. But now, everything that I had to go through all seems worth it.”
The 25-year-old competitor is the team’s first East African rider. He began cycling at 11 years of age. “It was 15 kilometres to school when I moved from grammar school. [My dad] decided it was worth it to invest his very little money in buying me a used bike so I could get back quickly and work in the farm.”
Team founder and co-owner Ron Baron said the signing epitomises the aim of the team. “This is really all that ICA is about. Here is a rider who deserves an opportunity to fulfil the dreams that seemed almost lost. That’s why for us it’s an exciting moment. We feel privileged to give Awet this chance and confident that he will show the world of cycling his unique qualities.”
Gebremedhin raced with the Eritrean national team and raced in Italy in 2011 and 2013. He decided not to return after the latter trip, and went to Sweden where he applied for asylum. After confining himself to a friend’s home for 18 months, he was finally declared a legal refugee in November 2015.
He was then able to leave the house and worked hard. “For three months, I collected empty beer bottles and sold them. Eventually I had enough to buy a bike, shoes, and a helmet, and I could go out training again,” he said. “I would train for hours and hours to get back in shape.”