Natnael Berhane has been elected African Cyclist of 2012 by a panel of cycling personalities. This new Trophy is sponsored by the Organisation Comitee of the Tropical Amissa Bongo and chaired by Bernard Hinault.
This award established this year for the first time rewards the African rider who has the strongest season especially on trials in Africa. The young Eritrean easily won the vote with 72 points against 41 for the South African Reinhardt Janse Van Rensburg and 39 for the Moroccan Adil Jelloul.
Natnael Berhane marked the spirits for his regularity during the season he passed for the first year at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle where it is perfectly adapted to the high-level competition. He was able to enjoy this new experience to win three Africa continental titles in November in Ouagadougou (Road race Elite and U23, and Team Time Trial). He concluded perfectly his season 2012 after winning the Tour of Algeria (+ two stages) and after distinguishing himself in Europe by winning the French classic amateur Tour du Chablais, and finishing third in a stage of the U23 Nations Cup. In 2011, Natnael Berhane had already impressed when he beaten in the final sprint the french professional Jérôme Pineau (Team QuickStep team) at the last stage of the Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Libreville. The Europcar team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau followed him closely since this feat and made him sign a few weeks ago his first professional contract for 2013.
Natnael Berhane will do his professionnal debuts during the next Bongo Tropical Amissa from 14 to 20 January with his new team with French Pierre Rolland, Anthony Charteau and Christophe Kern that will help renew his performance and why not to become the first african rider to win Tropical Amissa Bongo ? In this first Trophy of the African Rider of the Year, Natnael Berhane beats South African Reinhardt Janse Van Rensburg who won the Tour of Morocco (+three stages) but is distinguished mainly on the European calendar with wins at the Tour de Bretagne, the Tour de Wallonie and the Tour of Overijssel. The third is the Moroccan Adil Jelloul noticed this year for his second place in final standings of the Tour of Morocco and the Tour of Algeria and his 3rd place at the Tropicale Amissa Bongo. Second of the UCI Africa Tour 2012, he proved once again its regularity on the African calendar.
1. Natnael Berhane (Eritrea) : 72 points
2. Reinhardt Janse Van Rensburg (South Africa) : 41
3. Adil Jelloul (Morocco) : 39
4. Tarik Chaoufi (Morocco) : 37
5. Meron Russom (Eritrea) : 18
6. Azzadine Lagab (Algeria) : 9
7. Rasmané Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso) : 8
8. Youcef Reguigui (Algeria) : 4
. Okbamariam Tesfom (Eritrea) : 4
. Getachew Atsbha (Ethiopia) : 4
11. Daren Lill (South Africa) : 2
12. Abraham Ruhumuriza(Rwanda) : 1
. Jani Tewelde (Eritrea) : 1
. John Njoroge Muya(Kenya) : 1