[PHOTOS] The Dimension Data rider's victory made Eritrea the first country to win 10 gold medals in the 2018 African Championship in Kigali
By: RICHARD BISHUMBA
- PUBLISHED: February 19, 2018
Elite men’s road race, top three
1. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eritrea) 3:56:29
2. Eyob Metkel (Eritrea) 3:58:22
3. Lagab Azzedine (Algeria) 3:58:22
Under-23 category, top three
1. Joseph Areruya (Rwanda) 3:58:35
2. Henock Mulueberhan (Eritrea) 3:58:35
3. Didier Munyaneza (Rwanda) 3:58:39
Final medal table
1. Eritrea – 10 gold, 5 silver, 5 bronze
2. Ethiopia – 3 gold, 7 silver, 3 bronze
3. Rwanda – 3 gold, 4 silver, 3 bronze
4. Burundi – 1 silver
5. Algera – 2 bronze
6. Namibia – 1 bronze
RWANDA’s star cyclist Joseph Areruya was crowned Africa’s best Under-23 rider at the just concluded 13th African Continental Road Championship in Kigali on Sunday afternoon.
African Road Race Chimpionship winner Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier celebrates the crucial victory with a solo finish during the race in Kigali (Sam Ngendahimana)
However, the day belonged to Eritrean international and Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s UCI World Tour team’s Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier who put up a stunning solo performance to win the highly coveted elite men’s road race crown.
Team Rwanda winners Joseph Areruya and Didier Munyaneza in group photo with sponsor of the race
“I am very excited for this victory, feels very great to win in Kigali. It was a very tough race, but, thanks to my teammates, I had a strong support system backing me up. Congratulations to Areruya for the U23 category victory,” Ghebreigzabhier told Times Sport after the historic victory.
The 23-year-old finished in 1 minute and 53 seconds ahead of compatriot Eyob Metkel who finished second. Eyob, the 2016 and 2017 Tour du Rwanda first runner-up, overcame stiff challenge from Algerian Lagab Azzedine in a strong two-man sprint finish.
Road race riders get ready to start the race at Amahoro National Stadium
The new African champion Ghebreigzabhier made a solo escape from the leading peloton in the 10th lap, of 13 laps, and never looked back. He finished the lap with one minute and 3 seconds in a one-man break away before stretching the lead gap to 2 minutes and 40 seconds after the 12th lap.
Africa’s top rated Areruya of Rwanda who finished sixth overall, claimed gold in U23 category to make it four medals on his name at the just concluded Africa’s biggest cycling event. Another Rwandan youngster, Didier Munyaneza finished third in the U23 category to walk away with a bronze medal.
Minister Julienne Uwacu and FERWACY boss Aimable Bayingana and African cycling Confederation head Azzam pose with winner in U23 category
“The race kept getting tougher with time as our teammates dropped out, which left Eritrea with more riders than Rwanda. Thankfully, we won medals in the U23 category,” 19-year-old Munyaneza, who was making his first appearance in African championships, told this paper after the bronze victory.
The 156km race started with a total of 120 riders representing 20 countries but only 30 riders managed to complete the race, which was a total 13 laps around Amahoro stadium – Kimironko – Kibagabaga – Nyarutarama – Gishushu and back to Amahoro stadium. Among those who abandoned the race, were three Rwandans namely; veteran Adrien Niyonkuru, Valens Ndayisenga and Jean Bosco Ndayisenga.
FERWACY President Aimable Bayingana speaks to the journalists during the interview
Youngster Henock Mulueberhan, another Eritrean, won silver in the U23 category behind Areruya. Mulueberhan finished in the seventh place overall, 2 minutes and 6 seconds behind champion Ghebreigzabhier who was taking part in African championships for a fifth consecutive time.
African cycling powerhouse Eritrea finished top of the medal table with a total 20 medals; 10 gold, 5 silver and 5 bronze pieces. Ethiopia come second with 13 medals (3 gold, 7 silver and 3 bronze) while the hosts completed top three with 10 medals including 3 gold, 4 silver and 3 bronze medals respectively.
Eritrea National Team coaches join their medal winners to celebrate the victory of African Championship road race
Other countries on the medal winners table are Algeria who won two bronze medals, Burundi that won one silver medal and Namibia that scooped one bronze medal.
Bayingana was recognized by African Cycling Confederation for his efforts to promote cycling in Rwanda and in Africa
Out of six medals that were up for grabs on Sunday, Eritrea claimed three, the hosts Rwanda took two while Algeria clinched one respectively.
Two riders from Maurtius Mayer Alexandre and Rogier Ragan Gregory finished the road race, captured here in action during the race
Tour du Rwanda 2017 winner , La Tropicale 2018 winner and Tour de l'Espoir winner Joseph Areruya was eyeing to win his second medal during 2018 African Championship
Tour du Rwanda 2017 winner , La Tropicale 2018 winner and Tour de l'Espoir winner Joseph Areruya during the sprint
The Dimension Data rider's victory made Eritrea the first country to win 10 gold medals in the 2018 African Championship in Kigali
The best African rider Joseph Areruya leads the peloton during the third lap of the race.
The 168km elite men’s road race, a total of 14 laps, was contested by 120 riders from 20 African countries.
Team Rwanda rider Patrick Byukusenge finished the race in the 27th position
Team Rwanda rider Joseph Areruya during the sprint as he crosses the finish line to win U23 Road race champion 2018
Team Rwanda lead the peloton during the race, three of them abandoned the race, Valens Ndayisenga, Adeien Niyonshuti and Jean Bosco Nsengimana
Tanzania National team rider Mwangu Denis Julius captured in action during the race, he abandonned the race in the 5th lap
Samuel Mugisha finishes in the 26th position , he has been the key player for Areruya to win gold medal in U23
Road race started around Amahoro stadium – Kimironko – Kibagabaga – Nyarutarama – Gishushu and Amahoro stadium
Riders in action during the race
Minister Uwacu officially close the African Road Race Championship
Lager Azzedine from Algeria captured here leadaing the peloton in the 1st first lap of the race as he they climb the most challenging corner of the race at Remera
Jean Bosco Nsengimana in duo break away with Henok who wins Silver medal in U23 category
Gold medal winner in elite men category Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier in a solo break away as he rides his 11 lap during the race
Former Dimension Data rider Adrien Niyonshuti captured here in action during the race
Ellis Anthony Ryan from Zambia at the starting line before the race, the youngster abandonned the race after 8 laps
Didier Munyaneza among senior riders' break away of five people, the Rwandan managed to win Bronze medal
Bronze winner Didier Munyaneza
Among 114 riders from 20 African countries who started the race, only 30 riders crossed the finish line
Ait El Abdia Annas from Morocco did two laps leading peloton in a solo break away, he finishes in 11 position
Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier did a solo attack on 10th lap that helped him to cross the finish line as winner of 2018 African Championship
2018 African Road Race Championship started on 14 Feb in Kigali (Sam Ngendahimana)
Team Rwanda supporter applaud for Areruya as he climbs Remera corner during the race
Joseph Areruya (C), Didier Munyaneza (R) and Henock Mulueberhan display their medals after winning during the African Road Race Championship in Kigali yesterday. Samuel Ngenadahimana.