Team Rwanda Departs for La Tropicale Amissa Bongo Tonight

The 2018 winner of Tropicale Amissa Bongo, Joseph Areruya will put his title back in challenge leading the national team of Rwanda

Team Rwanda departs for Gabon tonight ahead of the 14th edition of the Tour of La Tropicale Amissa Bongo which will run from January 21 through to 27, 2019.

The annual event, which was held for the first time in 2006, is a road race and is part of the UCI Africa Tour.

The nine-man delegation composed of six athletes and three staff members departs Kigali International Airport on Friday night, (early Saturday morning), 1:45am aboard Ethiopian Airways.

The team riders include; reigning champion and Africa Cycling Winner Joseph Areruya who will be aiming to defend the title he won in 2018, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana who is a stage winner in last year’s La Tropicale race and also doubles as the Tour du Cameroun reigning champion, Samuel Mugisha who is the youngest ever Tour du Rwanda winner, Jean Claude Uwizeye who is the 2018 Tour du Rwanda runner-up), the national road reigning champion Didier Munyaneza and youngster Yves Nkurunziza.

Accompanying them is sporting director Sempoma Felix, Karasira Theoneste (Mechanic) and Patrick Kayinamura (Physiotherapist).

Areruya who is the first Rwandan and third African cyclist to win the annual race, only after Eritrean Natnael Berhane in 2014 and Tunisia’s Rafaâ Chtioui in 2015 is expected to face stern challenge in his bid to retain the title.

Ninety riders are expected to the start of the first stage of the 2019 La Tropicale Amissa Bongo race on Monday between Bongoville and Moanda. Forty three riders will be making their debut on the roads of Gabon.

Among them will be the return of Daniel Teklehaimanot, an icon of African cycling icon who has notable accolades not only in African cycling but even on the global scene.

The Eritrean born rider professional won the best climber jersey in the 2015 Tour de France, was 7th Overall in 2017 Tour of Austria and is an Eritrean triple national road champion among others.

The seven-stage race will cover a total of 860 kilometers, this time visiting Equatorial Guinea via Cameroon and a total of 15 teams have been confirmed to compete – including 10 African national teams and five professional teams.

The seven-stage race will cover a total of 860 kilometers, this time visiting Equatorial Guinea via Cameroon and a total of 15 teams have been confirmed to compete – including 10 African national teams and five professional teams.

The National teams set to send their teams include: Rwanda, Gabon, Morocco, Eritrea, Mauritius, Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Algeria and Cameroon

Professional Teams set to spice up the event include Direct Energie (France), Vital Concept-B&B Hotels (France), Adroni Giocatolli (Italy), Arkea-Samsic (France) and Pro Touch (South Africa).

French cyclists have dominated the race finishing first in 9 of the 13 editions. Natnael Berhane of Eritrea broke the French domination when he became the African cyclist to win the race in 2014.

Should Rwanda’s most decorated sports personality reclaim the competition’s title next month, he will become the first African and only the second cyclist to win it more than once, following in the footsteps of former French professional rider Anthony Charteau who clinched it a record three times, having won it uninterrupted from 2010 to 2012.

 La Tropicale Amissa Bongo 2019 roadmap

January 21: Stage 1: Bongoville – Moanda (100km)

January 22: Stage 2: Franceville – Okondja (170km)

January 23: Stage 3: Leconi – Franceville (100km)

January 24: Stage 4: Mitzic – Oyem (120km)

January 25: Stage 5: Bitam – Mongomo (Equatorial Guinea, 120km)

January 26: Stage 6: Bitam – Oyem (110km)

January 27: Stage 7: Nkok – Libreville (140km)

 Past Winners

2006: Jussi Veikkanen (Finland)

2007: Frédéric Guesdon (France)

2008: Lilian Jégou (France)

2009: Matthieu Ladagnous (France)

2010: Anthony Charteau (France)

2011: Anthony Charteau (France)

2012: Anthony Charteau (France)

2013: Yohann Gène (France)

2014: Natnael Berhane (Eritrea)

2015: Rafaâ Chtioui (Tunisia)

2016: Adrien Petit (France)

2017: Yohann Gène (France)

2018: Joseph Areruya (Rwanda)

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