Daniel Teklehaimanot has finally landed a contract for the 2018 season, with French team Cofidis announcing his signing on Friday.
The 29-year-old Eritrean climber was left stranded without a ride at the end of 2017 when his contract with Dimension Data ended. While other riders attended their new team training camps, Teklehaimanot was still hunting for a squad.
Teklehaimanot rose to fame with the MTN-Qhubeka/Dimension Data squad, where he won the mountains classification at the prestigious Critérium du Dauphiné stage race in 2015 before going on to spend time in the polka-dot jersey of best climber at that year’s Tour de France – his Tour debut.
The following year, he again won the mountains classification at the Dauphiné but did not make such an impact on the Tour. Nevertheless, he attracted huge support from Eritrean fans, who cheered on their star in great numbers.
In 2017, Teklehaimanot started the Giro d’Italia for the first time and wore the mountain classification leader’s jersey after stages two and three.
UCI Professional Continental team Cofidis is not going to waste any time in starting Teklehaimanot, as he will replace an ill Geoffrey Soupe in the squad’s line-up for the Dubai Tour, starting on February 6.
After announcing the signing on Twitter, Cofidis general manager Cedric Vasseur said: “We have just recruited a WorldTour rider, I am sure his qualities as a climber and attacker will allow the team to gain a new level.”
Tour de France organiser ASO confirmed in early January that Cofidis had been handed wildcard spots in its three big stage races: the Tour itself, the Dauphiné and Paris-Nice. Plenty of opportunities for Teklehaimanot.