14 February 2018

Rwanda: Areruya Tops Africa in New Uci Ranking As Rwanda Jump to Third

Photo: Sam Ngendahimana/New Times
Tour du Rwanda 2017 winner Joseph Areruya celebrates the victory as he crossed the finish line in Kigali

Rwanda's cycling sensation Joseph Areruya is Africa's best cyclist, according to the latest ranking by the International Cycling Union (UCI), which also saw Rwanda move one place into the third on the continent.

Areruya, 21, becomes the first Rwandan rider to top the continent, while it's the first time that Rwanda has come in the top three cycling countries in Africa.

Areruya and his country's improvement in continental rankings follow a series of major victories in international competitions, the most recent having come last week at the inaugural Under-23 UCI Tour de l'Espoir staged in Cameroon.

The youngster is also the reigning champion of Tour du Rwanda, a UCI 2.2 category race, which he won last November before also going on to claim the highly coveted La Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Libreville, Gabon.

In individual rankings, Areruya is followed by Eritrea's Abraham Meron of Eretria who remained unmoved in second place. South African Smit Willem Jakobus, who lost his spot to Areruya, dropped two places into third. Meron Teshome (Eritrea) and Ahmed Amine Galdoune of Morocco are in fourth and fifth, respectively.

Two-time Tour du Rwanda champion Valens Ndayisenga improved by two positions, from 12th to 10th, to ensure that Rwanda has two cyclists in the top ten. Rwanda has six cyclists in Africa's top 40, the others being Jean Bosco Nsengimana (19), Bonaventure Uwieyimana (28), Gasore Hategeka (29) and Jean Claude Uwizeye, who ranked 33rd position.

In the nations' rankings, Sterling Magnell's Team Rwanda swapped positions with Morocco who now are in fourth position.

Africa's powerhouse Eritrea retained the top spot, with South Africa coming in second while Algeria completes the top five.

The improvement in the rankings comes as a timely boost for Team Rwanda riders ahead of the 2018 UCI African Continental Road Championship which gets underway in Rwanda today.

The four-day race will see over 20 cycling teams tussle it out on the road, mostly between the capital Kigali and Bugesera.

Individual ranking, top five

1. Joseph Areruya - Rwanda

2. Abraham Meron - Eritrea

3. Smit Willem Jakobus - South Africa

4. Teshome Meron - Eritrea

5. Galdoune Ahmed Amine - Morocco

Top five nations

1. Eritrea

2. South Africa

3. Rwanda

4. Morocco

5. Algeria

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