This week, Pro-Continental team CCC-Sprandi-Polkowice Belarusian rider Branislau Samoilau racially abused MTN Qhubeka cyclist Natnael Berhane during a Tour de France race. As punishment, Samoilau will make a donation to African youth, but the racist incident is reportedly one of many, reports the Telegraph.
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MTN Qhubeka is the first African team to compete in the Tour de France in about 65 years.
And while African teams have been absent for several decades, that didn’t stop fellow Eritrean rider Daniel Teklehaimanot (pictured) from making cycling history on Wednesday by becoming the first Black African to become the best climber from Abbeville to Le Havre’s sixth stage on Thursday.
The overall potential of the team — and the win — appears to have made several of their European peers combative.
Case in point, on Wednesday, Samoilau reportedly called Eritrean champion Berhane (pictured) a “f*cking n*gger” as they competed.
The unacceptable offense caused MTN Qhubeka to request that Samoilau be removed from the Tour of Austria, with Qhubeka team principal Douglas Ryder adding, “We, as a team, do not tolerate that kind of behaviour.
And CCC spokesman remarked, “In the heat of the battle some words have been said by our rider, which were very unfortunate and unacceptable.”
Instead of throwing Samoilau out of the race, though, he has been forced to donate a month’s salary to Qhubeka’s charity, which provides Africans with bikes.
And while that incident seems to have been resolved, Ryder explained that the offense is actually one of many.
“Yesterday one of the riders from another team said to Natnael Berhane ‘get out of the way, you f*cking n*gger.’ Just outrageous,” Ryder said.
“And one of the biggest teams in the world last year in the Tour of Spain, when we trying to bring one of our riders to the front going in to the mountains, said, ‘You guys don’t belong here, f*ck off to the back of the bunch.’
“We have riders like Tyler and Edvald, riders who are well-respected in the peloton, and they are their team-mates, and they say, ‘Hey guys, come on, these guys deserve to be here.’”