Multiple African champion Daniel Teklehaymanot has signed a two-year contract with GreenEdge. The World Cycling Center (WCC), Switzerland, where the Eritrean talent has ridden since 2009, has confirmed the transfer to Cyclingnews.
Teklehaymanot, 23, is the first confirmed transfer to the new Australian structure, which he hopes will join the WorldTour in its first year in the professional peloton.
Cyclingnews understands that he met with GreenEdge's managers for the first time in early June, when the Australians went to Switzerland for some meetings with the UCI. Some other teams were interested in signing him, like Quick Step, FDJ and, above all, AG2R-La Mondiale.
Teklehaymanot wore a pro team's jersey in 2010, as a stagiaire for Cervélo-TestTeam, but never signed any contract afterwards.
Last winter, two squads had tried to recruit him, the American-based Team Type 1 and a Chinese project which ultimately never got off the ground. The WCC, however, advised Teklehaymanot to remain an amateur one more year.
Teklehaymanot showed himself in 2008 at the Tour de la Paix, in Ivory Coast, finishing 5th overall ahead of riders such as Nicolas Roche. As WCC rider he had good performances at the Under-23 Nations Cup, finishing 6th overall in the Tour de l'Avenir (2009) and winning a stage of the Tour du Lac de Saguenay, Canada (2010).
This year, Teklehaymanot has divided his time between Switzerland and African competitions. Last November, he became African Continental Champion in the team time-trial, individual time trial and road race, both at Under-23 and senior level. Ten days later he triumphed at the hilly Tour of Rwanda (2.2).
Well-known by the western media, which depicts him as an ambassador of Sub-Saharan cycling and the first African rider who could potentially ride the Tour de France for some time, Teklehaymanot is also a star in Eritrea, and one of the most famous people in the East African country.