Rwandan cyclist Joseph Areruya, riding for South Africa-based UCI Continental team Dimension Data for Qhubeka finished second in the contest for Africa’s cycling of the year 2017, behind the winner Louis Meintjes from South Africa.
The Tour du Rwanda 2017 champion, Areruya lost the prestigious award to Meintjes, who was announced the winner on Wednesday morning by the organizers of the Tropicale Amissa Bongo.
The 22-year old Areruya finished ahead of Dimension Data for Qhubeka teammate Kudus Merhawi, who finished in third spot. The Eritrean rides for Dimension Data for Qhubeka World Tour team, while Areruya rides for the Continental Tour team, which is a feeder team to the senior team.
A few, if any, Meintjes deserved the victory. The South Africa claimed the accolade following a stellar 2017 season, including a top ten finish at this year’s Tour de France with UAE Team Emirates.
Only this year, the rider finished overall 6th at the Tour of the Basque Country, 8th overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné and 8th overall Tour de France.
On the other hand, Areruya also had a memorable 2017 season including winning the Tour du Rwanda, he won the fifth stage of Giro Ciclistico d’Italia, finished 6th in the road race and 7th in the time trial of the African Road Championship and 6th at the African Continental Championships – Road Race.
This is the second time that Meintjes has won the African Best Cyclist of the year title after his first triumph in 2013. Other previous winners of the award include; Natnael Berhane (2012), Mekseb Debesay (2014), Daniel Teklehaimanot (2015) and Tesfom Okubamariam (2016).