Mikel Aristi is the second Spanish to win a stage on the Gabon test after Luis Leon Sanchez in 2014 The 23-year-old rider from the Spanish Basque country did not miss his chance this Monday in opening of the Tropical Amissa Bongo. On this long stage of 150 kilometers under a temperature of 30 °, the riders found hilly roads that could exhaust the organisms from the first day. Africans from the east of the continent such as the Eritreans, Ethiopians and Rwandans had decided to take charge of the first few kilometers. Only 30 kilometers from the finish line was Eritrean Elyas Afewerki, who maintained a three-minute lead just before crashing 14 kilometers from Akiéni. The runners from Minsk and Delko Marseille who were already preparing for the final sprint had accelerated the pace. Under the banner of the last kilometer, it was still Thomas Voeckler who attacked strongly, the runner of Direct Energie remembered that he had won his only victory of stage to the Tropical in the same place in 2012. Finally the team Delko Marseille could launch Mikel Aristi in the best conditions to win his first professional victory.
STAGE 1 : MOANDA-AKIENI (150 KM)
1. Mikel Aristi (Espagne – Delko Marseille), en 3h42’59’’ (Moyenne horaire : 39,55 km/h)
2. Tony Hurel (France – Direct Energie) même temps
3. Bazhkou Stanislau (Biélorussie – Minsk Cycling Club) même temps
4. Yohann Gène (France – Direct Energie) même temps
5. Meron Teshom (Erythrée – Bike Aid), même temps
1. Mikel Aristi (Espagne – Delko Marseille), en 3h42’48’’
2. Tony Hurel (France – Direct Energie) à 5’’
3. Bazhkou Stanislau (Biélorussie – Minsk Cycling Club) à 7’’
4. Martin Laas (Estonie, Delko Marseille) à 8’’
5. Nikodemus Holler (Allemagne – Bike Aid) à 10’’
"This is my first time in Africa and I'm happy to win right away," Mikel Aristi said. I was obviously thinking about the final sprint this morning but the day was so difficult I was wondering if it was still possible. Finally everything was well organized in the final with my teammates who prepared the field very well. We are more accustomed to talking about the Spanish runners like climbers especially the Basques like me who are surrounded by mountains. But my gauge forced me to aim at the sprints. "