Natnael Berhane Hopes to Inspire Young African Cyclists

Natnael Berhane of Eritrea

Natnael Berhane of Eritrea is the only black rider in the Tour de France. He spoke to DW about why African riders have more obstacles to overcome – and how he hopes to inspire young Africans to pursue the sport.

DW: Is being in the Tour de France the end of a long journey for you  or could it be just the beginning?

Natnael Berhane: This is my second Tour de France, and I want to come back for more in the next few years. But first of all I want to produce some good results in this year’s edition. My dream is text to get a stage win.

What would a stage win mean to you?

Obviously it would change my life. But of course it’s hard to win a stage at the Tour de France. So if you do manage to win one, it’s a big deal. A victory for me would also be a great inspiration for all African riders. I would like to motivate more talented Africans to take up cycling, and a stage win could help pave the way for other African riders to turn professional.

What has the support been like in your own country?

When I raced in the national championship in Eritrea the support was great. When they heard that I had been selected for the Tour de France everyone went crazy. That was very motivating. I was also surprised by how hard the other Eritrean riders raced and how good they were. I hope that some of them will also have the chance to come to Europe. I’m 100 percent sure that these talents would develop better if they could also come to Europe and join the pro peloton.

Read more at: DW