— -- A rider from Eritrea has become the first African to earn one of the coveted jerseys in the Tour de France — the grueling three-week contest that has traditionally been dominated by European and American riders.
Daniel Teklehaimanot, 26, became the first African rider to claim the polka-dot jersey for top climber at the Tour de France's Stage 6 on Thursday. Teklehaimanot and his fellow Eritrean Merhawi Kudus are the first black Africans to ride in pro cycling's most prestigious race.
"I can't believe it. That was my childhood dream to get the polka dot jersey at the Tour de France," Teklehaimanot said. "This is a day I will never forget. It is a big step for African cycling. We are trying to give 5,000 bicycles to African students. Being on the podium will help our project and I want to help make a difference for my African people."
Teklehaimanot and Kudus ride for the South-African MTN-Qhubeka team.
Kenyan-born Chris Froome, a British national and the 2013 Tour winner, currently leads the race's general classification — measured by the total accumulated time of all stages so far.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.