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(EuroSport) Awet Andemeskel, the intense personal story of a refugee who is already a professional cyclist

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Awet Andemeskel, the intense personal story of a refugee who is already a professional cyclist

Awet Gebremedhin Andemeskel

The 98th edition of the Italian classic of the Three Valleys Varesinos ended with the victory of Latvian Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) and had as main attraction the premiere of the rainbow jersey of Alejandro Valverde world champion. But the race left another name, that of the Eritrean with Swedish passport Awet Gebremedhin Andemeskel. Your personal story deserves to be told.

Awet Andemeskel was shooting in the group of big favorites when the attacks were followed in the final circuit by Varese. His companion Guillaume Bovin tried with Luis León Sánchez a chase from that small platoon to the head of the race, but the adventure did not prosper. The Eritrean cyclist of the Israel Cycling Academy team finished in a creditable 65th position. Obviously he did not enter any pool to win, but the fact of being between Alejandro Valverde or Vincenzo Nibaliwhen the race was really in dispute, should be a reward more than enough for him.

Andemeskel was persuaded not to give up trying to become a professional cyclist after overcoming complicated personal moments. It will continue to be in the 2019 season, since the Israeli team has renewed his contract. In the 2017 season the sadly extinct Kuwait-Cartucho team, a team with Spanish structure where a champion recognized as the Italian Davide Rebellin, offered him the possibility of repeating him to continue being a pro racer.

Before, his hard personal history weighed heavily on his aspirations because although cycling in Eritrea is a sport on the rise in recent years with several riders in World Tour teams, Andemeskel did not have the same opportunities.

After playing the 2013 World Cup in Florence in the U23 category and not finishing the race due to dehydration, he escaped from the concentration of his national team and headed for Sweden. There he asked for refugee status . Once granted that Swedish passport he saw that cycling was not as popular a sport in the Nordic country, or at least not as much as in the emerging Eritrea.

Later he was welcomed by a Basque family in Idiazabal and since then he was able to rebuild his own life and later his career as an athlete. According to him, his return to cycling came thanks to the team formed by refugees called Ner Gropu-Marco Polo Dutch, also with the help of a solidarity cycling project from the Basque Country. He was able to train seriously and compete again, finishing sixth in the Vuelta a Cantabria.

Already seated as a professional cyclist, at 26 he seems to be focused on becoming a great runner . His profile is climber and his best result in 2018 was a tenth place in the classic Ordizia and a sixth place in the second stage of the Vuelta a Portugal. It continues to grow and in 2019 it will continue to do so with the Israeli team, which increasingly has a presence in the best races in the world.

His participation in these Three Valles Varesinos and a message from Marcelino Pacheco, who was responsible for the communication of the Kuwait-Cartucho team and which is still linked to the most modest cycling, made it possible to rescue this great personal history.

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