The national cycling team returned last night after a crushing triumph at the inaugural Under-23 UCI Tour de l’Espoir on Sunday evening in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Areruya and Team Rwanda are qualified for this year’s Tour de l’Avenir, the world’s top-rated U23 cycling event scheduled for August 17-26 in France.
In Cameroon, Sterling Magnell’s men finished top of the 15-team table in team classification while Areruya, 21, yet again cemented his place among Africa’s cycling greats to win the 4-stage U23 cycling event, the first of its kind on the continent.
“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.
Tour de l’Espoir is the third consecutive major victory for Areruya, who claimed Tour du Rwanda last November and Africa’s sole UCI 2.1 rated cycling event, La Tropicale Amissa Bongo, last month in Libreville, Gabon.
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.
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’Avenir is the U23 version of the famous Tour de France.
New on the UCI AfricaTour and one of the only six U23 cycling races in the world, as mentioned by The New Times , Tour de l’Espoir attracted a total 83 riders representing 15 countries, including Vietnam as the sole non-African team. Riders raced to a total 447km across the West African country.
After Tour de l’Espoir, the six-man team from Cameroon are joining the rest of Team Rwanda riders in residential camp at Golden Tulip Hotel in Nyamata – Bugesera in preparations for the forthcoming UCI Africa Road Championship scheduled for February 13-18.
According to Aimable Bayingana, President of the Rwandan Cycling Federation, this victory is only a biginning for international competitions both in Africa and around the world where he hopes to win more trophies “.
Bayingana has, by this occasion, evoked the next competitions which will take place among others in Senegal and at the level of the countries of the Commonwealth.
He praised the progress made During the last ten years, arguing the professionals of the bicycle have always existed in Rwanda, but that it lacked only the determination until then.
He admitted that Rwanda has a lot of talent in the field of cylism, but that the problem of supervision persists. The President of FERWACY took the opportunity to urge the district authorities to promote cycling in the same way as other sports such as football and others.
Jean Louis KAGAHE