A member of the World Cycling Centre (WCC), the Eritrean rider Natnael Berhane, 21, will be a trainee for the reserves of the Team Europcar during the end-of-season period.
This experience at Vendée U-Pays de la Loire (a club in the first national amateur division in France) constitutes an important step for Berhane in his quest for a professional contract. The rider trained initially at the Continental Centre for Cycling in South Africa, and then since 2011 at the World Cycling Centre in Aigle (Switzerland).
Renowned for his qualities as a puncher, Berhane was crowned Continental Champion of Africa in November 2011. That same year, he won a stage of the Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon. This season, he had four victories, including the final rankings of the Tour d’Algérie and the Tour de Chablais. He also finished second in a stage of the Tuscany-Terre de Cyclisme event, a race that goes towards the Under 23 Nations Cup.
Currently riding in the Giro della Valle d'Aosta, Berhane will take a week’s rest before beginning his training with the Vendée U club. The training will last about a month, before he leaves to participate in the Tour de l'Avenir.
Jean-Jacques Henry, Trainer at the World Cycling Centre, is convinced that Natnael Berhane “is ready for the experience” with Vendée U.“He clearly has the potential to go professional, and we hope that this experience with the reserve team will open the door for him in this respect,” added Mr Henry.
“The collaboration with the Team Europcar is very important for the World Cycling Centre,” explains Frédéric Magné, Director of the WCC.“Jean-René Bernaudeau has always encouraged the development of cycling throughout the world, and particularly in Africa. He is therefore very interested in the training activities at the WCC. We are happy that such a great cycling team has this philosophy.”