Cyclist Areruya linked with move to France

RWANDA international and Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s feeder team rider Joseph Areruya is reportedly in talks with French team Delko–Marseille Provence KTM, Saturday Sport has learnt.
Areruya defied odds to win Africa's biggest race, La Tropicale Amissa Bongo, in January. File.
Areruya defied odds to win Africa's biggest race, La Tropicale Amissa Bongo, in January. File.

RWANDA international and Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s feeder team rider Joseph Areruya is reportedly in talks with French team Delko–Marseille Provence KTM, Saturday Sport has learnt.

If he agrees to personal terms with the French club, which should also have an agreement with his current team, the 22-year-old will complete his move in mid-April after the XXI Commonwealth Games slated for April4-15 in Gold Coast, Queensland – Australia.

The transfer reports come after a series of stellar performances by Areruya in international cycling events, the most powerful having come in January when he defied odds to win Africa’s biggest race, La Tropicale Amissa Bongo, in Gabon.

By doing so, Areruya became the first Rwandan and only third African rider to win the 2.1 UCI category race. He addition, he also became the first rider to win the highly coveted crown with a national team, a non-professional UCI Continental Tour team.

Contracted to Dimension Data

Speaking to Saturday Sport by phone on Friday afternoon, Areruya, did not confirm nor deny the reports but instead revealed that he’s been contacted by several professional teams.

“I have been approached by several teams; Delko–Marseille Provence KTM is one of them. I still have a contract with Dimension Data; anything regarding any transfer can only be blessed by my team,” the reigning Tour du Rwanda champion disclosed.

While his countryman and teammate Samuel Mugisha left the country this week for Italy, where Dimension Data is based, reports suggest that Areruya did not travel with him due to the “imminent” move to France—he also refuted this.

He noted, “I am only still here because I am yet to get my work permit renewed, I will join my teammates (Dimension Data for Qhubeka) in camp as soon as I get cleared.”

Prior to winning la Tropicale, Areruya became the third Rwandan to win Tour du Rwanda, a race that is set to be upgraded to 2.1 from 2.2 UCI category, effective 2019.

After Gabon, the Rwamagana-born cyclist led Team Rwanda to win the inaugural Under-23 UCI Tour de l’Espoir, a race strictly designed for U23 national teams. Subsequently, Rwanda automatically qualified for this year’s Tour de l’Avenir scheduled for August in France.

Areruya, who dreams to race in Tour de France one day, joined South Africa—based UCI Continental Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka in December 2016 on a one-year contract before being offered a one-season renewal last December, along with Mugisha.

If the move to Delko–Marseille Provence KTM materializes, Areruya will become the first African to ride for a UCI Professional Continental team.

After Adrien Niyonshuti, Rwanda’s first and only cyclist to ride for UCI World Tour team was released by Dimension Data senior team last December, the country’s eyes are on Areruya to carry from where Adrien left off.

UCI team classes

While Dimension Data feeder team is a UCI Continental team, Delko–Marseille Provence KTM is a UCI Professional Continental team, which ranks the later in the second class while the former is located in the third category of the International Cycling Union, UCI, race rankings.

The first class of UCI competitions, World Tour, includes the world’s top18 cycling clubs. The Professional Continental Teams class is made of 27 teams while currently; the UCI Continental Tour has a total 174 globally.

Delko–Marseille Provence KTM (formerly called La Pomme de Marseille) is a professional cycling club since 1974. The club’s current 14-man squad is made of six French riders, three Spaniards, two Italians, one Colombian, one Latvian and one rider from New Zealand.

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