Areruya voted African Cyclist of the Year

Joseph Areruya, 22, is the first Rwandan cyclist to win the coveted award since its inception in 2012. File photo

RWANDA’s Joseph Areruya, riding for French side Delko Marseille Provence KTM, was on Friday named as the African Cyclist of the Year 2018 – becoming the first Rwandan to win the highly coveted prize since its inception in 2012.

The 22-year old was beaten to the award by South African Louis Meintjes to finish second last year.

Initiated, and given out every year, by the organisers of the La Tropicale Amissa Bongo race, the trophy is aimed at boosting the development of African cycling, and recognizing the rider who has had the best season on the continent and beyond.

    At this year’s edition, Areruya was followed by South Africa’s Daryl Impey and Eritrean Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier as first and second runners-up, respectively.

    The jury for the award was chaired by five-time Tour de France champion, Bernard Hinault, and also included a panel of other veteran cyclists, coaches, journalists.

    "Joseph Areruya deserves this trophy this year, he has dominated all major events on the African continent before moving to professional team Delko-Marseille. He is a strong and courageous rider who can go further," said Bernard Hinault.

    The praise from a former great champion like Bernard Hinault confirms the broad consensus obtained from the jury that designated Areruya as the best representative of African cycling this year.

    His victories at La Tropicale in Gabon and the inaugural Tour de l'Espoir in Cameroun as well as his four medals at this year’s African Continental Road Championships impressed the jury. 

    This year’s Tour du Rwanda champion, Samuel Mugisha, finished sixth on the 15-man shortlist for the award while compatriot Bonaventure Uwizeyimana came in 14th position.

    This is the first time that Rwanda had more than two riders in Africa’s best 15 cyclists.

    FINAL RANKING

    1. Joseph Areruya (Rwanda)
    2. Daryl Impey (South Africa)
    3. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eritrea)
    4. Merhawi Kudus (Eritrea)
    5. Youcef Reguigui (Algeria)
    6. Samuel Mugisha (Rwanda)
    7. Azzedine Lagab (Algeria)
    8. Salim Kipkemboi (Kenya)
    9. Clint Hendrickx (South Africa)
    10. Isiaka Cisse (Ivory Coast)
    11. Henok Mulubrhan (Eritrea)
    12. Stefan De Bod (South Africa)
    13. Mathias Sorgho (Burkina Faso)
    14. Bonaventure Uwizeyimana (Rwanda)
    15. Clovis Kamzong (Cameroon)

    PREVIOUS WINNERS

    2012 – Natnael Berhane (Eritrea)
    2013 – Louis Meintjes (South Africa)
    2014 – Mekseb Debesay (Eritrea)
    2015 – Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eritrea)
    2016 – Tesfom Okubamariam (Eritrea)
    2017 – Louis Meintjes (South Africa)
    2018 – Joseph Areruya (Rwanda)

    editorial@newtimes.co.rw 

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