Three Team Rwandan riders Areruya Joseph, Mugisha Samuel and Bonaventure Uwizeyimana are among 15 African cyclists nominated for the title of the 2018 Best African Cyclist Award.
The fifteen African cyclists were nominated on Monday by the organization of the cycling race “La Tropicale Amissa Bongo”. The winner will be announced on December 21, 2018 to replace reigning champion South African cyclist Louis Meintjes.
Areruya (Delko-Marseille), Mugisha (Dimension Data for Qhubeka) and Uwizeyimana (Team Rwanda) will vie for the award alongside three Eritreans Ghebreigzabhier Amanuel (Dimension Data for Qhubeka), Kudus Merhawi (Dimension Data for Qhubeka) and Mulubrhan Henok; three South Africans including De Bod Stefan (Dimension Data for Qhubeka), Hendrickx Clint (Bike Aid) and Impey Daryl (Michelton-Scott); Ivorian Cisse Isiaka, Cameronnian Kamzong Clovis, Kenyan Kipkemboi Salim (Bike Aid), Lagab Azzedine (GSP), Algerian Reguigui Youcef (Savoc) and Burkinabe rider Sorgho Mathias.
Areruya, 23, 2017 Tour du Rwanda holder, finished as the third best ranked African Cyclists in 2017 awards before making a rare record early this year when he won La Tropicale Amissa Bongo and the inaugural Tour de l’Espoir.
This year, he helped Rwanda to qualify for the 2018 Tour de l’Avenir, slated for August in France.
The former Les Amis Sportif cycling club rider also put up an impressive performance at this year’s African Continental Road Championships in Kigali, winning four medals, including two gold medals, one silver and a bronze.
His recent road show was in October when he finished 29th in the individual time trial of Chrono des Nations’ men’s elite race.
Mugisha, Tour of Rwanda reigning champion, was also named the best Young Rider and finished first in the second stage. While in Cameroon, he also won the third stage of the Tour de l’Espoir. Mugisha also emerged the king of mountains in the
Giro della Valle d’Aosta. Last week, the 20-year old grabbed two medals at the inaugural Africa Cup Cycling Competition, finishing 3rd and 2nd in Sunday’s elite Men & U23 road race.
His performance in the men’s elite race earned him a silver medal in the Under-23 category where he came second behind Eritrean Henok Mulubrhan and ahead of Ethiopian Ebrahim Redwan.
The medals won by Mugisha helped Rwanda finish the African Cup campaign with four medals, three bronze medals and one silver medal.
On the opening day, Team Rwanda won a silver medal in the Team Time Trial’s Under-23 category on Tuesday this week, then a day after Team Rwanda Mugisha Moise won a bronze medal in the Individual Time Trial’s Under-23 category.
Uwizeyimana, 25-year old finished sixth overall at the La Tropicale Amissa Bongo in 2017. In April this year, Uwizeyimana finished fourth overall at the 17th Tour du Sénégal.
In June this year, Uwizeyimana made history by becoming the first Rwandan to win the Tour du Cameroun. Tour du Cameroun victory also highlights another impressive display of the Rwandan national cycling team at Africa Tours after winning la Tropicale Amissa Bongo and Tour de l’Espoir.
This trophy was created six years ago by the organizers of the Tropicale Amissa Bongo, always anxious to encourage the development of African cycling by rewarding the rider who has achieved the best performances of the season and managed by its influence to make known African cycling on the world stage.
The jury of this trophy is chaired by the former five-time winner of the Tour de France, Bernard Hinault and is composed of sports directors, coaches, leaders, African runners, African and European journalists.
The next nominee to be nominated on December 21st will succeed Natnael Berhane (2012), Louis Meintjes (2013, 2017), Mekseb Debesay (2014), Daniel Teklehaimanot (2015) and Tesfom Okubamariam (2016).
List of Nominees for African Best Cyclist of the Year
1. Areruya Joseph (Rwanda – Delko-Marseille)
2. Cisse Isiaka (Ivory Coast)
3. De Bod Stefan (South Africa – Dimension Data for Qhubeka)
4. Ghebreigzabhier Amanuel (Eritrea – Dimension Data)
5. Hendrickx Clint (South Africa – Bike Aid)
6. Impey Daryl (South Africa – Michelton-Scott)
7. Kamzong Clovis (Cameroon)
8. Kipkemboi Salim (Kenya – Bike Aid)
9. Kudus Merhawi (Eritrea – Dimension Data)
10. Lagab Azzedine (Algeria – GSP)
11. Mugisha Samuel (Rwanda-Dimension Data for Qhubeka)
12. Mulubrhan Henok (Eritrea)
13. Reguigui Youcef (Algeria – Sovac)
14. Sorgho Mathias (Burkina Faso)
15. Uwizeyimana Bonaventure (Rwanda)
Past African Cyclist of the Year Award Winners
2012: Natnael Berhane (Eritrea)
2013: Louis Meintjes (South Africa)
2014: Mekseb Debesay (Eritrea)
2015: Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eritrea)
2016: Tesfom Okubamariam (Eritrea)
2017: Louis Meintjes (South Africa)