PHOTOS: Areruya closing in on Tour du Rwanda triumph

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.
Dimension Data rider Joseph Areruya in yellow jersey  leads the table after day 7 of Tour du Rwanda. / All photos by Sam Ngendahimana
Dimension Data rider Joseph Areruya in yellow jersey leads the table after day 7 of Tour du Rwanda. / All photos by Sam Ngendahimana


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”

General Classification
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.

Yellow jersey holder Rwandan Joseph Areruya in action in Rugende.
A crowd of cycling spectators straddle roads waiting for the riders at Kimironko.
Areruya was riding hand in hand with his teammate Eyob Metkel.
Dimension Data riders Eyob Metkel and Joseph Areruya climb the Mur de Kigali (Kwa Mutwe) during the race.

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’’.

Eyob Metkel celebrates his victory as he crossed the finish line in Nyamirambo.
For the first time, the race passed through Kagugu and Gisozi heading to Nyamirambo.
Les Amis Sportifs riders in Cogebanque jersey.
Many supporters line up the street to watch the Mur de Kigali race at a place commonly known as Kwa Mutwe.

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.

Rubavu based rider Jean Ruberwa riding for Benediction Club celebrates his title as best combative rider of the stage 6.
South African rider Edward Green (in Cogebanque  jersey) has lost his position of best mountain climber.
Stage winner Eritrean Eyob Metkel celebrates his second victory in Tour du Rwanda 2017.
Stage winner Eyob was seen supplying water to his teammates during Stage 6.

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.

Stage winner Eyob 
Team Dimension Data leads the peloton from Rwamagana.
Team Rwanda supporters with Vuvuzelas captured in action yesterday.
Teammates Eyob Metkel and Joseph Areruya seen here action in the stone-paved road as they climb towards Mur de Kigali (Kwa Mutwe).

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.

The peloton captured at Nyagasambu, only one group of riders has done a break away.
Tour of Rwanda has emerged one of the most popular sporting events in the country. Thousands line up the streets to watch the riders.
Yellow jersey holder Areruya poses with Cogebanque promoters as he still leads the table.
Mauritius National Team rider leads the peloton.

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.

The back angle of the peloton shows cycling spectators cheer on riders at Mulindi.
The cycling supporters in Nyabugogo climb all places possible to catch a glimpse of the race
The first break away tried by four riders including Alexis Nizeyimana of Benediction.
The president of the jury leads the riders before flag off in Kayonza.