Areruya on brink of Amissa Bongo victory


Areruya finished third in stage six, from Bitam to Oyem, to keep the yellow jersey, 18 seconds ahead of nearest rival Holler Nikodemus of Team Bike Aid. / Courtesy

Stage 7; Bikélé-Libreville (139,5km)
Stage 6; Top 5
1. Rinaldo Nocentini (Sporting Tavira) 2h32’48’’
2. Selemun Zemenfes (Eritrea) 2h32’48’’
3. Joseph Areruya (Team Rwanda) 2h32’52’’
4. Pacioni Luca (Wilier-Triestina) 2h32’53’’
5. Jones Brenton (Delko-Marseille Proven) 2h32’53’’

General Classification
1. Joseph Areruya (Rwanda) 20h44’58’’
2. Holler Nikodemus (Bike Aid) 20h45’ 16’’
3. Gaudin Damien (Wilier-Triestina) 20h45’ 36”
4. Koshevoy Ilia Wilier (Selle Italia) 20h 46’ 49”
5. Rinaldo Nocentini (Delko-Marseille Proven)) 20h52’25’’

Team Rwanda rider and Tour du Rwanda reigning champion Joseph Areruya is on the verge of making history going into Sunday’s final stage at the ongoing La Tropicale Amissa Bongo cycling race in Gabon.

The 21-year old finished third in stage six on Saturday, from Bitam to Oyem, to keep the race leader’s yellow jersey, holding a lead of 18 seconds ahead of nearest rival Holler Nikodemus of Team Bike Aid.

Rinaldo Nocentini, riding for Sporting Tavira, won stage six, covering a distance of 107km after clocking 2hours, 32 minutes and 45 seconds, same time as Eritrean Selemun Zemenfes, while Areruya crossed the finish line four seconds behind.

Like Wednesday, Nocentini showed his experience in the last kilometers of the stage by attacking in the last climb of the final circuit while the peloton was back on the last breakaway.

Only Zemenfes could follow him to the finish line where Nocentini scored his name for the second time of the week in the list of stages of the Tropicale 2018. He also won stage 3, from Fougamou – Lambaréné, 114km.

Areruya will go into today’s seventh and final stage leading the race by 18 seconds ahead of Nikodemus and he knows he will only be required to finish the stage from Bikélé to Libreville covering a distance of 139,5km to become the first Rwandan to win the biggest race on UCI Africa Tour.

“I am proud to still be leading going into the final stage, I will keep working hard to keep the yellow jersey, which is very difficult but I am ready to fight to the end,” Areruya said after stage 6.

After six stages and a total distance of 864km, Areruya leads the general classification with 20hrs, 44 minutes and 18 seconds, ahead of Nikodemus, while Gaudin Damien (Wilier-Triestina) is in this place, 38 seconds behind the leader.