Stage 7: Kigali-Kigali 119.6km+ 4 categorized climbs (including mountains with seven laps)
Stage six: Top 5
1. Eyob Mektel (Dimension Data for Qhubeka) 1h58’55’’
2. Joseph Areruya (Demesion Data for Qhubeka) 1h58’58’’
3. Aron Debretsion (Eritrea) 1h59’ 03’’
4. Jean Bosco Nsengimana (Team Rwanda) 1h59’03’’
5. Kent Main (Dimension Data) 1h59’06’’
6. Patrick Byukusenge (Team Rwanda) 13h 59’ 06”
1. Joseph Areruya (Dimension Data) 17h23’09’’
2. Eyob Metkel (Dimension Data) 17h23’44’’
3. Suleiman Kangangi (Bike Aid) 17h24’44’’
4. Jean Bosco Nsengimana (Team Rwanda) 17h 25’ 14”
5. Patrick Byukusenge (Team Rwanda) 17h 26’ 01
6. Valens Ndayisenga (Tirol Cycling Team) 17h26’35’
Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Rwandan rider Joseph Areruya is on the verge of claiming his first Tour du Rwanda title as the 2017 edition comes to a climax with the seventh and final stage on in Kigali.
“This is the right time for us to win Tour du Rwanda because we have shown that in the way we have fought to retain yellow jersey. Today’s stage was tougher than we expected but I am happy that we have managed to keep our lead,” Areruya said after finishing second in stage 6, Kayonza to Kigali (86.2km), behind his teammate, Eritrean Eyob Mektel.
Eyob won the stage six after clocking 1 hour, 58 minutes and 55 seconds, three seconds ahead of Areruya.
Aron Debretsion of Eritrea National Team, who looked sharp from Kayonza to Kigali, came on third place with 1h59’03’’ after leading for almost the 86.2kms, while Team Rwanda captain and 2015 winner, Jean Bosco Nsengimana finished in 1h59’03’’.
Kent Main (Dimension Data) completed the top five with 1h59’06’’. Team Rwanda rider Patrick Byukusenge came on sixth place after clocking 13h 59’ 06” whereas defending champions Valens Ndayisenga of Tirol Cycling Team, came in eleventh place, 35 seconds behind the winner.
Areruya, the son of former Team Rwanda rider Jean Damascent Gahemba promised, when he first claimed the yellow jersey after winning stage two, that he would fight to keep the jersey thank his teammates, Eyob, Kent, Samuel Mugisha and De Bond Stefan, who have helped him to stay on top.
“My main target is to win Tour du Rwanda and I believe my teammates will help me as they have been doing through the tour. I am relaxed and I just need to focus on myself and my team in the final stage” the 21-year old noted as takes a 35 seconds lead into the final day.
Areruya also keeps jerseys of best Rwanda rider, best Africa rider while Aron Debretsion is the best climber and Jean Ruberwa of Benediction Club is combative rider.
In General Classification, Areruya leads with 17 hours, 23 minutes and 09 seconds, a lead of 35 seconds ahead of Dimension Data for Qhubeka teammate Eyob, Kenya Suleiman Kangangi of Bike Aid follows in third place with 17 hours 24 minutes and 44 seconds.
Nsengimana, jumped on fourth place with 17 hours 25 minutes and 14 seconds, Patrick Byukusenge (Team Rwanda) is fifth with 17 hours 26 minutes and 1 seconds while Ndayisenga is sixth with 17 hours 26 minutes and 35 seconds.
Team Illuminate hopefully Simon Pellaud dropped to 10th place, 5 minutes and 48 seconds behind Areruya.
Sunday’s final stage, Kigali-Kigali covering 119.6km, is categorized with climbs and seven laps, Areruya will need everyone support so that he can stay on top of the standings and become the third Rwanda to win Tour du Rwanda after Ndayisenga (2014 and 2016) and Nsengimana in 2015, since race became a UCI Africa Tour competition nine years ago.