Tour du Rwanda: Areruya credits teammates for win
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Stage 6: Top Five
1. Valens Ndayisenga (Tirol Cycling Club) 2h58’13’’
2. Ebrahim Redwan (Ethiopia National team) 2h 58’ 13’’
3. Cameroon Piper (Team Illuminate) 2h58' 13’’
4. Nicodemus Hourer (Bike Aid) 2h58’13’’
5. Eyob Mektel (Dimension Data) 2h 58' 13’’
1. Joseph Areruya (Dimension Data) 20:21:29
2. Eyob Metkel (Dimension Data) 0:28
3. Suleiman Kangangi (Bike Aid) 1:29
4. Jean Bosco Nsengimana (Team Rwanda) 2:10
5. Patrick Byukusenge (Team Rwanda) 3:08
6. Valens Ndayisenga (Tirol Cycling Team) 3:19
Rwandans have proved to be the masters of their own race after Joseph Areruya claimed this year’s Tour du Rwanda to become the third Rwandan to win the annual UCI Africa Tour race in four years.
The 21-year old, riding for South Africa-based UCI Continental Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, won the 9th edition of Tour du Rwanda, which ended Sunday with the seventh and final stage climaxing at Amahoro National Stadium.
The Rwamagana native was mostly with the highly coveted yellow jersey since throughout the race.
Despite finishing 11th in the final stage, Kigali-Kigali (120km), which was won by compatriot and outgoing champion Valens Ndayisenga (Tirol Cycling Team), the day belonged to Areruya, who used a total of 20 hour, 21 minutes and 29 seconds for the entire eight-day, seven-stage race that covered 819 kilometres.
Ndayisenga won the last stage after impressing in the last lap.
Shortly after he was crowned the 2017 Tour du Rwanda champion, Areruya attributed his triumph to his Dimension Data teammates Rwandan Samuel Mugisha, Stefan DE Bod, Kent Main and Eyob Mektel.
Eyob finished second overall, 28 seconds behind Areruya, while Ndayisenga came in 6th position in general classification, 3 minutes and 19 seconds behind the winner.
“It is a great honour for me, my country and my team (Dimension Data). I am very happy for my performance and my team. I cannot express my gratitude enough,” a visibly excited Areruya said in front of the adoring Rwandan fans at Amahoro National Stadium.
Areruya made his Tour du Rwanda debut in 2015, as a teenage rider for Team Rwanda, a year in which Jean Bosco Nsengimana became the second Rwandan to win the race since it became a UCI-Africa Tour, category 2.2 road race in 2009. Ndayisenga had won it the previous year.
In the final stage yesterday, Dimension Data rider Mugisha led the peloton tackling in the first three laps to help his teammate Areruya in attacking and holding onto the yellow jersey.
Areruya, a former Les Amis Sportifs de Rwamagana rider, further noted: “I really enjoyed the race and to win at home is always sweet, this opens yet another chapter in my career.”
Areruya also won the best Africa and best Rwanda rider awards.
Best combative rider was Van Engren of Germany-based UCI Continental Team Bike Aid, while Nathaniel Barnham of Eritrea National Team was named the best climber with 48 points.
Kenyan Suleiman Kangangi of Team Bike Aid finished in third place in the General Classification with 20 hours, 23 minutes and 58 seconds, while Team Rwanda captain Nsengimana came in fourth place (20:23:39).
Patrick Byukusenge (Team Rwanda) completed the top five with 20 hours, 24 minutes and 37 seconds.
Out of the 73 riders that had started the race on November 12, only 57 completed the race.
Meanwhile, by winning the final stage, Ndayisenga equaled the record of the greatest number of stage victories on the Tour of Rwanda (5) held since Saturday by Metkel Eyob.
This year’s edition attracted 15 teams including from five National teams, five UCI Continental teams and five clubs. The national teams were Mauritius, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Algeria and hosts Rwanda.
The UCI Continental teams were: Dimension Data for Qhubeka (South-Africa), Tirol Cycling Team (Austria), Team Illuminate (USA), Bike Aid (Germany), and Dukla Banska Bystrica (Slovakia).
Regional or Club teams were; Club Benediction de Rubavu (Rwanda), Club Les Amis Sportifs de Rwamagana (Rwanda), Team Lowestrates.com (Canada), Team Haute-Savoie / Auvergne Rhône-Alpes (France) and Team Kenya Riders Safaricom (Kenya).