The Ethiopian Cycling Academy faces major difficulties. “The first big problem is they don’t have bikes,” says manager Jorge Quintana. But motivation for the young Ethiopians is not a problem, and particularly not after visiting this year’s Tour de France.
The Academy is new, and hoping to build up a good program, as has been done in South Africa and Eritrea.
“We want to change their lives,” Quintana said, and to that effect, brought the riders to the Basque Country for three months of European training and racing. The youngsters have had plenty of additional motivation this year. Tsgabu Grmay became the first Ethiopian to appear in a grand tour when he rode the Giro d’Italia for Lampre-Merida.
And their major highlight was attending the Tour de France and meeting their fellow Africans from MTN-Qhubeka.