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Africa Games

Accra 2023: Eritrea thrill in Cycling men’s elite U-23 criterium

An afternoon of pure cycling skills and Road control characterized day three of the African Games cycling Criterum at Olebu Ablekuma.

The Red Sea Carmels of Eritrea headed by indescribable Sprinter, Nahom Zeray Araya showed pure power,pace and precision in the 84km assignment encompassing 30 laps inside Ablekuma Olebu.

Fellow Eritrean, Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedlein provided the beauty on the day by placing second with South African pride Blaine Conrad Kick placing third to finish off the medal zones.

The President of the Ghana Cycling Federation Mohammed Sahnoon Esq flagged the race into motion and already the attacks had ensued.

The 100 riders who signed up for the race had clear intentions for medals and by the first lap the road had began boiling with series of breakaways especially from the South Africans and Eritrea

With 19 laps to go, all attention got focused on the first breakaway group comprising two South Africans, an Eritrean and an Ethiopian. The quartet breakaway group controlled affairs until the 11th lap where matters changed.

With 13 laps to go, Nahom Zeray Araya of Eritrea effected a solo move and tore out from the other three. He was gone.

The main bunch was even busier with series of echelionic attacks on the left side of the Road in an effort to catch up with Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedlein and the second breakaway group comprising two Mauritius attackers, Two South Africans and an Eritrean.

With 5 laps to go, the signals were crystal clear the winner would emerge from Eritrea. Nahom Zeray Araya still maintained focus and singlehandedly dictated the bunch behind him with an approximate time difference of 2mins.

With 4 laps to finish up, Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedlein of Eritrea managed to pair up with his brother Nahom upfront and so painted an attacking duo of two eritreans.

Destined to win the days criterum, the pair laboured on the final bend and raised the Eritrean flag across the finish line in such a beauty.

Blaine Conrad Kick of South Africa sprang from the second bunch to register himself in the third spot.

96 riders began the onslaught with 34 getting dropped along the way including all the Ghanaians with 31 riders completing the task. That was no news because the cadence output in this particular race was beyond description.

In the Under 23 category, it was Nahom Zeray Araya who was still positioned at the first position, De Comarmond Aurelie of Mauritius second and Blaine Conrad Kieck in third spot. 18 Under 23 riders did not finish.

The women’s criterum also produced fireworksin the 56km race over 20 laps with South African Hayley Preen having a superb day with the Gold medal followed by Greff Anri Krugel of Namibia and Diane Ingabre of Rwanda placing third. 44 female riders started but 22 pulled out of the race.

The game continues on Thursday and Friday with the Time Trials and would be climaxed with the Mixed Relay hopefully on Saturday.

Credit: Dennis Kweku Moore

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