GC: Top five
1. Joseph Areruya (Rwanda) – 10:27:34
2. El Mehdi Chokri (Morocco) 10:30:14
3. Al Kouraji Mohane (Morocco) – 10:30:40
4. Jean Paul Rene Ukiniwabo (Rwanda) – 10:32:27
5. Aidan Van Niekerk (South Africa) – 10:33:02
RWANDA Cycling Federation (FERWACY) president Aimable Bayingana has lauded the impressive performance of Joseph Areruya and Team Rwanda in general at the just-concluded Under-23 UCI Tour de l’Espoir in Cameroon.
“It is beyond imagination what the boys have done here, they have left a mark in Cameroon. The mission was well executed, Areruya and the entire team did an incredibly great job,” Bayingana told Times Sport from Yaoundé on Sunday night.
Team Rwanda’s Joseph Areruya cemented his place as one of Africa’s best riders after the 21-year-old won the inaugural U-23 Tour de l’Espoir race on Sunday. The four-stage race covered a total distance of 447km.
Eritrean Rhan Henok Muluebe won the fourth and final stage (80.1km), from Akono-Yaoundé, after using 1 hour, 50 minutes and 44 seconds.
However, it was Areruya, who claimed the four-stage competition despite finishing fourth on the final day and not winning a single stage. He finished second in stage 3.
As a result, Areruya and Team Rwanda qualified for this year’s Tour de l’Avenir, the world’s top-rated U23 cycling event scheduled for August 17-26 in France.
Tour de l’Espoir is the third consecutive victory for Areruya, who claimed Tour du Rwanda last November and La Tropicale Amissa Bongo, Africa’s biggest cycling event, last month in Libreville, Gabon.
Team Rwanda was set for a grand welcome back home at 9pm.
Rwanda and Morocco each had three riders in the General Classification top ten, while South Africa, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Eritrea had one. Out of the 83-man start-list representing 15 teams, only 53 cyclists managed to complete the race.
Apart from Areruya, Team Rwanda also had Jean Paul Rene Ukiniwabo, who finished fourth overall, Didier Munyaneza (9th), Samuel Migisha winner of stage 3, finished in 11th place, Jean Damascene Ruberwa was 26th while Samuel Hakiruwizeye came in the 28th spot.
Rwanda finished top of the team classification, followed by Morocco, Eritrea (third), South Africa (fourth) and Mauritius completed top five.
Upon returning home, Team Rwanda will connect direct to Golden Tulip Hotel in Nyamata, Bugesera to start residential camp in preparations of the upcoming 2018 UCI Africa Road Championship slated for February 13-18 in Kigali.
Bayingana noted that, “There is no time to rest for the boys; as focus switches to the African Championships. The target is to win as many medals as possible in the event.”
On Areruya’s winning streak, Bayingana said, “He is very talented, wise and disciplined, but most importantly, he is a good team player. Cycling requires teamwork; one individual alone can’t achieve much.”