The young Rwandan rider won today the 13th Tropicale Amissa Bongo. He did not give in to the professionals. Italian Luca Pacioni (Wilier-Triestina) won the last stage.
Joseph Areruya held his position today during the last stage of the Tropicale. The Rwandan wore the yellow jersey since his stage victory in Mitzic for three days, he defended his property with vigor and intelligence. When he was attacked by riders of Direct Energie at the beginning of the final circuit that had to race eleven times, he has kept a good position at the head of the pack to avoid being trapped in this final day.
The Rwandan is the third African to win the Tropicale after the Eritrean Natnael Berhane in 2014 and the Tunisian Rafaa Chtioui in 2015 but he is the first to achieve this performance with the jersey of his national team. These two predecessors had won with the support of their professional team. The performance of Joseph Areruya takes more values because it proves that African cycling is now on the right way. The Tropicale Amissa Bongo has once again fulfilled its mission by allowing African riders a high-flying sporting confrontation against professional teams accustomed to major races on the world calendar like the Tour de France or the Giro d’Italia.
At 22, Joseph Areruya was able to assess his level and confirm all the good that we thought of this talented rider already winner in 2017 of the Tour of Rwanda but also a stage of the Giro d'Italia U23. He is professionnal with the South African Dimension Data for Qhubeka Development team since 2017, and will certainly follow the line of African riders who made their professional debuts in Gabon before being famous champions like Daniel Teklehaimanot, Natnael Berhane, Louis Meintjes or Tsgabu Grmay. The Tropicale has always been conducive to the revelation as well of europeans riders like Frenchmen Pierre Rolland, Nacer Bouhanni and Adrien Petit who also won in Gabon their first professional victory.
The Tropicale will certainly remain the first major line of the winners of Joseph Areruya.
The last stage was won by Italian Luca Pacioni (Wilier-Triestina) after a massive sprint.
JOSEPH ARERUYA (The final winner): "I obviously had a little apprehension at the start because everything can happen on a stage. But my teammates did a lot of work at my side, they went to the end of their strength to help me keep my yellow jersey. I thank them very much for this great victory."