Tour of Eritrea

The Tour of Eritrea (Tigrinya: ዙር ኤርትራ, Italian: Giro dell’ Eritrea) is a multistage bicycle race held annually throughout Eritrea.

Tour of Eritrea
Tour of Asmara Cycling race, Asmara Eritrea.jpg
Cyclists competing in the Tour of Eritrea in Asmara, Eritrea.
Race details
English nameTour of Eritrea
Local name(s)ዙር ኤርትራ (Tigrinya)
DisciplineRoad race
OrganiserEritrean National Cycling Federation
Race directorAklilu Lijam
First edition1946 (1946)
Editions16 (as of 2017)
First winner Nunzio Barrilà (ITA)
Most wins Habte Weldesimon (ERI) (3 wins)
Most recent Zemenfes Solomon (ERI)


The first race was staged in 1946. It was promoted by the Italian community of Eritrea with the Italian name Primo Giro dell'Eritrea.[1] Its inaugural Tour of Eritrea had 34 participants and was won by Nunzio Barrilà of the team A.C. Piemonte.[2] It had five stages, with a very difficult Premio della Montagna (Stage of the Mountain).

In 1947, the second Giro dell'Eritrea was not allowed because of political reasons related to a growing guerrilla war in British occupied Eritrea. However, a smaller Giro/Tour was held in its place called the Giro delle 3 Valli ("Tour of the 3 Valleys"). It was won by Esmiles Zoli.

In 2001, after a fifty-year-long hiatus, the Tour was resurrected as celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Eritrean independence. It was won by Habte Weldesimon, who repeated his victory in 2003 and 2004.

Merhawi Ghebrehiwot won both the 2007 and 2008 Tours. In 2009 the tour of Eritrea was recongnaized by the UCI for the first time .It was given a 2.2 HC and included 5 stage. The winner was Meron Russom and Bereket Yemane got the jersey awarded for the best climber [3] As of 2014, the latest tour was held in 2013 and was won by Mekseb Abrha Debesay.[4]

2008 resultsEdit

Podium of the 2008 edition:

  1. Merhawi Ghebrehiwot (team EriTel) with 47.00 points
  2. Dawit Haile (team Asbeco) with 40.00 points
  3. Frekalsi Debesay with 37.00 points

The last stage (in Asmara, done April 20) was won by Domenico Vaccaro, an Italian Eritrean, of the team Medeber.[5]


The Tour's route has changed since the colonial period. It consists today of a 670 km (420 mi) race contended in 5 stages.[6] The race covers various geographic regions, including the desert lowlands, the chilly highlands and windy coast.[7]

The race usually start off at the beaches of Massawa, up the winding mountain highway with its precipitous valleys and cliffs to the capital Asmara. From there, it continued downwards onto the western plains of the Gash-Barka Region, only to return to Asmara from the south.

This is, by far, the most popular sport in modern Eritrea, followed by many thousands of fans and with nearly 100 professional Eritrean cyclists. Indeed, the Tour of Eritrea is followed enthusiastically by the Eritrean population around the roads, like happens in the Tour de France of France and the Giro d'Italia of Italy.


During the Tour, the previous stage's winner is awarded a blue jersey in recognition of their achievement.[8] A red jersey is awarded to those who win the climbing contest while the yellow jersey is worn by the overall Tour leader.[9]


Year Country Rider Team
1946   Italy Nunzio Barrilà A.C. Piemonte
No race
2001   Eritrea Habte Weldesimon
2002   Eritrea Michael Tekle
2003   Eritrea Habte Weldesimon
2004   Eritrea Habte Weldesimon
2005   Eritrea Michael Teku
2006   Eritrea Michael Misgane
2007   Eritrea Merhawi Gebrehiwet
2008   Eritrea Merhawi Gebrehiwet
2009   Eritrea Bereket Yemane Eritrea national team
2010   Eritrea Natnael Berhane Eritrea national team
2011   Eritrea Meron Russom Eritrea national team
2012   South Africa Jacques Janse van Rensburg MTN–Qhubeka
2013   Eritrea Mekseb Debesay Eritrea national team
No race
2016   Eritrea Merhawi Goitom Eritrea national team
2017   Eritrea Zemenfes Solomon Eritrea national team


  1. ^[permanent dead link] The first Tour of Eritrea/Giro d'Eritrea of 1946 (in Italian)
  2. ^[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-03. Retrieved 2008-11-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Information about the 2008 Tour of Eritrea
  4. ^ "Tour of Eritrea 2013". CyclingFever. Retrieved 21 February 2014.
  5. ^ "Ompekning pågår - FS Data". (in Swedish). Retrieved 2017-09-17.
  6. ^ "Tour of Eritrea". Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  7. ^ "Corso, a Life Line of Asmarino Youths". Archived from the original on 2006-09-29. Retrieved 2006-12-19.
  8. ^ Andemichael, Daniel (2007-02-14). "Abraham Belay Dons Blue Jersey as He Sets a New Record in Winning Latest Stage" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-02-14.[dead link]
  9. ^ "Summary of Tour De Eritrea: EriTel wins Fifth Consecutive Victory". Retrieved 2007-03-12.[dead link]

See alsoEdit