1. Pacioni Luca Wilier (Triestina-Selle Italia) 3h7’29”
2. Jones Brenton (Delko-Marseille Provence) 3h7’ 29”
3. Reguigui Youcef (Dimension Data) 3h7’29”
4. Petit Adrien (Direct Energie of France) 3h7’29”
5. Lucas Carstensen (Bike Aid) 3h7’29”
1. Joseph Areruya (Rwanda) 23h52’24”
2. Holler Nikodemus (Bike Aid) 23h52’24”
3. Gaudin Damien (Team Direct Energie) 23h53’14”
4. Koshevoy Ilia (Wilier-Triestina) 23h54’15”
5. Jones Brenton (Delko Marseille Provence) 23h59’51”
Joseph Areruya has made history by becoming the first Rwandan to win La Tropicale Amissa Bongo, the biggest cycling race on the UCI-Africa Tour, which concluded on Sunday in Gabon.
The 21-year-old Areruya also becomes the first rider to hold both the Tour du Rwanda and La Tropicale Amissa Bongo titles simultaneously. The champion is now the most successful Rwandan cyclist in history of UCI Cycling 2.1 stage race.
The team Rwanda rider, who led the race after his victory in stage 4, won this year’s edition after clocking a total of 23hrs, 52 minutes and 24 seconds, ahead of Nikodemus Holler, who rides for Germany-based UCI Continental Team Bike Aid (23hrs, 52 minutes and 24 seconds).
Damien Gaudin (Direct Energie) of France finished third overall in 23h53’14”, Koshevoy Ilia (Wilier-Triestina) took fourth place with 23hrs, 54 minutes and 15 seconds and Australian Brenton Jones (Delko Marseille Provence) completed the top five with 23h59’ 51”.
Areruya, helped by teammates; Didier Munyaneza, Jean Damascene Ruberwa and Jean Paul Rene Ukiniwabo, managed to keep the yellow jersey for three days despite facing stiff competition from Nikodemus Holler.
In the last stage, which was 7th from Bikélé – Libreville covering 139.5 km, Areruya, who rides for South Africa’s Dimension Data for Qhubeka, kept the lead until the end of the race. Triestina-Selle Italia rider Luca Pacioni won the stage in a time of 3h7’29”.
The Italian rider crossed the finish line ahead of Brenton Jones (Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM), winner of 2 stages in this year’s race, and Algerian Youcef Reguigui (Sovac – Natura4Ever). Areruya came in 24th position with same time as the stage winner.
In November last year, Areruya became the third Rwandan to win Tour du Rwanda, the annual UCI-Africa, category 2.2 road race since it became part of UCI-Africa Tour in 2009, after Valens Ndayisenga, (2014 and 2016) and Jean Bosco Nsengimana, in 2015.
Areruya won a stage in Giro d’Italia in European UCI race last year.
After the La Tropicale Amissa Bongo, which is the first race on the UCI Africa Tour calendar, focus will shift to next month’s UCI African Continental Road Championship slated for February 13-18 in Rwanda.
La Tropicale; 10 past winners:
2018: Joseph Areruya (Rwanda)
2017: Yohann Gène (France)
2016: Adrien Petit (France)
2015: Rafaâ Chtioui (Tunisia)
2014: Natnael Berhane (Eritrea)
2013: Yohann Gène (France)
2012: Anthony Charteau (France)
2011: Anthony Charteau (France)
2010: Anthony Charteau (France)
2009: Mathieu Ladagnous (France)