Rwandan rider Joseph Areruya is the winner of Tour du Rwanda 2017.
Areruya, 21, who rides for South African UCI continental team Dimension Data For Qhubeka has won the tour, 28 seconds clear of his team mate Eritrean Eyob Mektel who came second and Kenyan Suleiman Kangangi (Bike Aid) who came on the third place.
Born in Rwamagana in the East of Rwanda, Joseph Areruya rode for Rwamagana-based Les Amis Sportifs cycling club before he joined Dimension Data For Qhubeka last year.
He becomes the 8th winner of Tour du Rwanda since it was made international in 2009 and the third Rwandan after Valens NDAYISENGA- the only rider who won it for two times, in 2014 and 2016- and Jean Bosco NSENGIMANA who won it in 2015.
Other winners of Tour du Rwanda are GIRDLESTONE Dylan (South Africa), LILL Darren (South Africa). TEKLEHAIMANOT Daniel (Eritrea). REIJNEN Kiel (USA) and JELLOUL Adil (Morocco).
Speaking to the media after emerging as the winner of Tour du Rwanda 2017, Joseph Areruya, nicknamed Kimasa “The Bull”, said: “I am glad to win this tour. It is not an easy thing but, I was motivated to win because I did not wish this competition to be won by a foreigner, at home”.
Minister For Sports and Culture, Julienne Uwacu expressed her joy that the tour was won by a Rwandan-born rider and commended the competitiveness that was showcased by cyclists during the competition.
“ We also are very happy because this tour we organized, went allright. It attracted very many people. There is a way the competition is organized and how it ends. That the yellow jersey is won by a Rwandan brings a great joy for us”, she said.
The last stage of Tour du Rwanda 2017 on Sunday, November 19, 2017 was won by Valens Ndayisenga who won Tour du Rwanda 2014 and 2016 and he has now the same number of stages won in Tour du Rwanda with Eyob Mektel who had 5.
They are the two riders who won most stages in Tour du Rwanda since it was international in 2009.
In the last stage of Tour du Rwanda 2017, riders had to cross the route in the capital city of Rwanda, Kigali. They started at Amahoro National Stadium– Kimironko – Kibagabaga – Nyarutarama – Gishushu – Remera and they ended back at Amahoro National Stadium. They crossed the route for ten times which translated into a distance of 120Km.
Only 59 riders, among 73 who started the tour on the prologue stage day, made it to the final stage which completed 821Km that cyclists rode across Rwanda in a week.
The overview of Tour du Rwanda 2017
Tour du Rwanda 2017 started on November 12th, 2017 with a budget of Rwf500 million.
The prologue was won by Rwandan Jean Bosco Nsengimana after riding a 3.3km stretch in 03′ 47″ 06″‘ setting a record of the shortest time of the prologue stage won in Tour du Rwanda since 2009.
Joseph Areruya won stage two from Kigali to Huye and wore the yellow jersey after clocking 3 hours, 12 minutes and 12 seconds in a 120,3 Km distance.
However, the yellow jersey was taken off Areruya on day two after Swiss rider Simon Pellaud won stage two from Nyanza to Rubavu having clocked 4:32:20’, on a distance of 180Km being the longest stage in the history of Tour du Rwanda.
Areruya won stage three (Rubavu-Musanze, 95Km) on Wednesday but Simon Pellaud kept the yellow jersey, that was taken off him, after stage four from Musanze to Nyamata (121Km) which was won by Eritrean Eyob Mektel who arrived at the finish line with his team mate Joseph Areruya to retain the yellow jersey that he kept on him until the last stage.
Stage five was won by Rwandan Bonaventure Uwizeyimana who rides for Club Benediction de Rubavu after he clocked 2:16:26 from Nyamata to Rwamagana on a distance of 93,2Km and Joseph Areruya still kept the yellow jersey with 38 seconds clear of Eyob Mektel who was second on the general classification.
Eyob Mektel won stage six from Kayonza to Kigali, Nyamirambo after clocking 1:58:55”’ on a distance of 80Km, three seconds before Joseph Areruya who continued to lead with 35 seconds clear of Mektel then.
Though Areruya did not make it in the top 10 in the last stage, He still led as Eyob Mektel ended the stage 10 seconds before Areruya but these were not enough for him to close the 35 seconds gap that was between him and Areruya.
The International Cycling Union (UCI), the world governing body for sports cycling, announced that it will up grade Tour du Rwanda from 2.2 level to 2.1 in 2019. The tour will be taking place in the months of August instead of November and it will bring in riders who ride for higher international cycling level.