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Tour of Rwanda: Areruya sprints to victory in Musanze

Former Team Rwanda athlete Joseph Areruya was the first Rwandan to win a UCi race at the Baby Giro

Former Team Rwanda athlete Joseph Areruya was the first Rwandan to win a UCi race at the Baby Giro (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)

In the first bunch sprint of the 2017 Tour of Rwanda on stage 3, Joseph Areruya erased the previous day’s disappointment of losing the yellow jersey by taking the win over Edwin Avila (Team Illuminate) into Musanze. The Dimension Data for Qhubeka rider enjoyed his second win in three days after his solo effort into Huye on Monday.

Team Illuminate's Simon Pellaud retained the yellow jersey by placing fourth in the bunch sprint after a chaotic finale to the short and fast stage. Inside the final kilometre, a large crash towards the back of the bunch cut the peloton in half but without any effect on the GC favourites.

Pellaud has one-minute advantage over Areruya, while 2016 champion Valens Ndayisenga (Tirol) remains third at 1:17 after placing 22nd in the sprint.

After Pellaud silenced the home crowds with his stage and yellow jersey haul in Rubavu, the patriotic Rwandan crowds were again in full voice for Areruya in Musanze.

"Today I am much happier than yesterday because today I win the stage. That is why I am very happy," said Areruya, feeding off the energy of the boisterous crowds in the cycling hotbed of Musanze.

The day started with an aggressive approach by Dimension Data for Qhubeka, with Areruya explaining the team plan was to attack Pellaud after the race leader admitted that he did not expect to hold yellow after Musanze.

"Today the plan was to target the time of the guy who has the yellow jersey but it was not good. I was there in the front and then there were attacks and the bunch caught us. Then I tried to tried to win the stage," said Areruya, adding that Pellaud has proven to be a worthy adversary.

"I think I am not stronger than him because he showed us he is strong."

With a solo win and bunch sprint victory, Areruya has showcased his characteristics thus far in his national tour, but the 21-year-old is doubtful of his chances for a third win, which would see him joining Jean Bosco Nsengimana and Kiel Reijnen as the only riders to have won three stages or more in one edition of the race.

"The first stage, it is my favourite stage because last year I also win there. That is why I am very happy with this stage. I can try. I don't think I can win again, but I hope," he said.

For Pellaud, the first experience of a leader's jersey was a day to remember and savour.

"It was amazing. Sometimes we saw the yellow jersey gives you wings and today it gives wings not only to me, but also to all our team. My teammates did a great job. We are just three riders here and I had the feeling we were nine or ten riders pulling for me," he told Cyclingnews.

With the top ten unchanged following stage three, stage 4 from Nyamata is expected to see a GC shake-up with Pellaud pragmatic about his chances of retaining yellow.

"We saw this morning when I entered the climbs that the best climbers are far in front of front of me. The stage tomorrow is three long climbs and it will be very hard to control. We will fight for it but we don't think of yellow," he said.

How it unfolded

The peloton rolled out for four laps of the Rubavu circuit, which took the riders within a few hundred metres of the Congo border in the west. At the départ réel, the skirmish to establish the breakaway was kicked off by Dimension Data for Qhubeka, and Stefan De Bod and Samuel Mugisha went on the offensive in the company of Brett Wachtendorf ( and Adne Van Egelen (Bike Aid).

On the technical circuit, their lead was holding firm at 30 seconds on lap two. On the third lap, the lead was out to 50 seconds with Bonaventure Uwizeyimana (Club Benediction) and Ephrem Tuyishimire (Les Amis Sportifs) trying to bridge across.

Once out of the circuit and onto the road east to Musanze after 35km of racing, however, the early break was caught, and a new group of eight was established following more aggressive racing in the bunch. De Bod, Mugisha, and Van Engelen were joined by Areruya, Didier Munyameza (Rwanda National Team), Kibrom Giday, Natnael Mebrahtom and Saymon Musie Mehari of the Eritrea national team.

Across the hilly parcours, the leaders pulled out one minute on the bunch and continued to lead over the day's sole categorised climb. On the fast and technical descent into Musanza, the organised peloton cut the advantage as a bunch sprint looked an increasingly likely outcome. Behind the breakaway, Illuminate and Rwanda National Team were pulling the strings.

Despite late attacks, including one from Pellaud, the peloton was back together for the final kilometre. Areruya then repeated his formidable win in Huye and finished off the job for Dimension Data for Qhubeka, but was unable to double up with the yellow jersey as Pellaud held firm.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Joseph Areruya (Rwa) Dimension Data For Qhubeka2:23:25
2Edwin Avila (Col) Team Illuminate
3Jean Paul René Ukiniwabo (Rwa) Rwanda National Team
4Simon Pellaud (Swi) Team Illuminate
5Metkel Eyob (Eri) Dimension Data For Qhubeka
6Valentin Goudin (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes
7Natnael Mebrahtom (Eri) Eritrea National Team
8Nikodemus Holler (Ger) Bike Aid
9Ephrem Tuyishimire (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs
10Aron Debretsion (Eri) Eritrea National Team
11Stefan de Bod (RSA) Dimension Data For Qhubeka
12Matthieu Jeannes (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes
13Salim Kipkemboi (Ken) Bike Aid
14Jean Claude Uwizeye (Rwa) Rwanda National Team
15Joshphat Gathiambo (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom
16Amanueal Tsegay (Eri) Eritrea National Team
17Suleiman Kangangi (Ken) Bike Aid
18Kent Main (RSA) Dimension Data For Qhubeka
19Adne van Engelen (Ned) Bike Aid
20Cameron Piper (USA) Team Illuminate
21Patrick Byukusenge (Rwa) Rwanda National Team
22Valens Ndayisenga (Rwa) Tirol Cycling Team
23Saymon Musie Mehari (Eri) Eritrea National Team
24Gasore Hategeka (Rwa) Club Benediction
25Tamrat Meresa Gebrewahd (Eth) Ethiopia National Team
26Didier Munyaneza (Rwa) Rwanda National Team
27Jean Bosco Nsengimana (Rwa) Rwanda National Team
28Samuel Mugisha (Rwa) Dimension Data For Qhubeka
29Eric Nduwayo (Rwa) Club Benediction
30Redwan Ebrahim (Eth) Ethiopia National Team
31Azzedine Lagab (Alg) Algeria National Team
32Jean Claude Mfitumukiza (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs
33Samuel Hakiruwizeye (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs
34Brett Wachtendorf (USA) Lowestrates.Ca0:05:37
35Olivier le Court de Billot (Mri) Mauritius Equipe National
36Tesfom Okubamariam (Eri) Eritrea National Team
37Jimmy Uwingeneye (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs0:09:32
38John Kariuki (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom
39Abderrahmane Mansouri (Alg) Algeria National Team
40Islam Mansouri (Alg) Algeria National Team
41Janvier Rugamba (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs
42Fiseha Gebremariam (Eth) Ethiopia National Team
43Sylvain Clavel (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes
44Sébastien Fournet Fayard (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes
45Nicolas Roux (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes
46Geoffrey Langat (Ken) Bike Aid
47Bonaventure Uwizeyimana (Rwa) Club Benediction
48Jules Cusson Fradet (Can) Lowestrates.Ca
49Edward Greene (RSA) Lowestrates.Ca0:09:39
50Tedros Redae (Eth) Ethiopia National Team0:09:48
51Yannick Lincoln (Mri) Mauritius Equipe National0:12:33
52Cameron Mcphaden (Can) Lowestrates.Ca
53Andrew Kimutai (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom
54Stephen Keeping (Can) Lowestrates.Ca
55Yacine Hamza (Alg) Algeria National Team
56Moran Vermeulen (Aut) Tirol Cycling Team
57Alexandre Mayer (Mri) Mauritius Equipe National0:19:18
58Matthew How Saw Keng (Mri) Mauritius Equipe National0:19:19
59Christopher Rougier-Lagane (Mri) Mauritius Equipe National
60Cornelius Kipkemboi Kiplagat (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom0:19:54
61Mehdi Lounis (Alg) Algeria National Team
62Alex Nizeyimana (Rwa) Club Benediction
63Kelvin Kipng'etich Kiplagat (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom
64Daniel Knapp (Aut) Tirol Cycling Team
65Jean Damascene Ruberwa (Rwa) Club Benediction
66Samuel Oros (Svk) Dukla Banska Bystrica0:21:19
67Martin Vlcák (Svk) Dukla Banska Bystrica0:28:16
68Kibrom Giday (Eth) Ethiopia National Team

Mountain 1, km 65.6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Natnael Mebrahtom (Eri) Eritrea National Team10pts
2Saymon Musie Mehari (Eri) Eritrea National Team6
3Kibrom Giday (Eth) Ethiopia National Team3
4Didier Munyaneza (Rwa) Rwanda National Team1

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dimension Data For Qhubeka7:10:15
2Team Illuminate
3Eritrea National Team
4Rwanda Equipe Nationale
5Bike Aid
6Les Amis Sportifs
7Ethiopia National Team
8Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes0:09:32
9Club Benediction
10Algerie Equipe Nationale0:19:04
11Kenyan Riders Safaricom0:22:05
13Tirol Cycling Team0:32:27
14Maurice Equipe Nationale0:37:28

General classification after stage 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Simon Pellaud (Swi) Team Illuminate10:13:47
2Joseph Areruya (Rwa) Dimension Data For Qhubeka0:01:00
3Valens Ndayisenga (Rwa) Tirol Cycling Team0:01:17
4Suleiman Kangangi (Ken) Bike Aid0:01:21
5Patrick Byukusenge (Rwa) Rwanda National Team0:01:25
6Tesfom Okubamariam (Eri) Eritrea National Team0:01:29
7Didier Munyaneza (Rwa) Rwanda National Team
8Matthieu Jeannes (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes0:01:30
9Metkel Eyob (Eri) Dimension Data For Qhubeka0:01:38
10Jean Bosco Nsengimana (Rwa) Rwanda National Team0:02:15
11Kibrom Giday (Eth) Ethiopia National Team0:03:19
12Nikodemus Holler (Ger) Bike Aid0:03:36
13Kent Main (RSA) Dimension Data For Qhubeka0:04:42
14Gasore Hategeka (Rwa) Club Benediction0:04:47
15Salim Kipkemboi (Ken) Bike Aid0:04:48
16Jean Claude Uwizeye (Rwa) Rwanda National Team0:05:55
17Ephrem Tuyishimire (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs0:06:17
18Adne van Engelen (Ned) Bike Aid0:06:20
19Stefan de Bod (RSA) Dimension Data For Qhubeka0:10:02
20Azzedine Lagab (Alg) Algeria National Team0:10:12
21Samuel Mugisha (Rwa) Dimension Data For Qhubeka0:10:18
22Aron Debretsion (Eri) Eritrea National Team0:10:19
23Natnael Mebrahtom (Eri) Eritrea National Team0:10:23
24Saymon Musie Mehari (Eri) Eritrea National Team
25Brett Wachtendorf (USA) Lowestrates.Ca0:10:27
26Amanueal Tsegay (Eri) Eritrea National Team0:10:29
27Tamrat Meresa Gebrewahd (Eth) Ethiopia National Team0:10:34
28Eric Nduwayo (Rwa) Club Benediction0:10:42
29Valentin Goudin (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes0:10:52
30Jean Claude Mfitumukiza (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs0:11:08
31Olivier le Court de Billot (Mri) Mauritius Equipe National0:11:33
32Bonaventure Uwizeyimana (Rwa) Club Benediction0:14:37
33Cameron Piper (USA) Team Illuminate0:15:38
34Jean Paul René Ukiniwabo (Rwa) Rwanda National Team0:18:18
35Joshphat Gathiambo (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom0:18:56
36Redwan Ebrahim (Eth) Ethiopia National Team0:22:03
37Sylvain Clavel (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes0:25:07
38Christopher Rougier-Lagane (Mri) Mauritius Equipe National0:25:18
39John Kariuki (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom0:25:32
40Fiseha Gebremariam (Eth) Ethiopia National Team0:28:11
41Geoffrey Langat (Ken) Bike Aid0:28:41
42Edward Greene (RSA) Lowestrates.Ca0:29:00
43Sébastien Fournet Fayard (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes0:29:11
44Edwin Avila (Col) Team Illuminate0:29:32
45Moran Vermeulen (Aut) Tirol Cycling Team0:30:08
46Janvier Rugamba (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs0:30:15
47Jean Damascene Ruberwa (Rwa) Club Benediction0:30:56
48Islam Mansouri (Alg) Algeria National Team0:33:11
49Tedros Redae (Eth) Ethiopia National Team0:33:22
50Jimmy Uwingeneye (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs0:36:20
51Jules Cusson Fradet (Can) Lowestrates.Ca0:39:28
52Yannick Lincoln (Mri) Mauritius Equipe National0:40:04
53Alexandre Mayer (Mri) Mauritius Equipe National0:42:18
54Daniel Knapp (Aut) Tirol Cycling Team0:44:38
55Cameron Mcphaden (Can) Lowestrates.Ca0:45:04
56Andrew Kimutai (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom0:45:29
57Alex Nizeyimana (Rwa) Club Benediction0:47:29
58Abderrahmane Mansouri (Alg) Algeria National Team0:48:42
59Stephen Keeping (Can) Lowestrates.Ca0:51:32
60Samuel Hakiruwizeye (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs0:55:01
61Cornelius Kipkemboi Kiplagat (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom0:58:40
62Yacine Hamza (Alg) Algeria National Team1:04:33
63Kelvin Kipng'etich Kiplagat (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom1:09:12
64Nicolas Roux (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes1:09:17
65Matthew How Saw Keng (Mri) Mauritius Equipe National1:14:00
66Mehdi Lounis (Alg) Algeria National Team1:16:38
67Martin Vlcák (Svk) Dukla Banska Bystrica1:17:44
68Samuel Oros (Svk) Dukla Banska Bystrica1:39:50

Mountains classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Edward Greene (RSA) Lowestrates.Ca28pts
2Jean Bosco Nsengimana (Rwa) Rwanda National Team15
3Samuel Hakiruwizeye (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs13
4Natnael Mebrahtom (Eri) Eritrea National Team10
5Joseph Areruya (Rwa) Dimension Data For Qhubeka9
6Redwan Ebrahim (Eth) Ethiopia National Team9
7Saymon Musie Mehari (Eri) Eritrea National Team7
8Jimmy Uwingeneye (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs7
9Simon Pellaud (Swi) Team Illuminate6
10Didier Munyaneza (Rwa) Rwanda National Team4
11Kent Main (RSA) Dimension Data For Qhubeka4
12Suleiman Kangangi (Ken) Bike Aid3
13Kibrom Giday (Eth) Ethiopia National Team3
14Ephrem Tuyishimire (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs3
15Valens Ndayisenga (Rwa) Tirol Cycling Team2
16Tesfom Okubamariam (Eri) Eritrea National Team1
17Jean Paul René Ukiniwabo (Rwa) Rwanda National Team1
18Sébastien Fournet Fayard (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes1
19Janvier Rugamba (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs1
20Jean Damascene Ruberwa (Rwa) Club Benediction1

African rider classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Joseph Areruya (Rwa) Dimension Data For Qhubeka10:14:47
2Valens Ndayisenga (Rwa) Tirol Cycling Team0:00:17
3Suleiman Kangangi (Ken) Bike Aid0:00:21
4Patrick Byukusenge (Rwa) Rwanda National Team0:00:25
5Tesfom Okubamariam (Eri) Eritrea National Team0:00:29
6Didier Munyaneza (Rwa) Rwanda National Team
7Metkel Eyob (Eri) Dimension Data For Qhubeka0:00:38
8Jean Bosco Nsengimana (Rwa) Rwanda National Team0:01:15
9Kibrom Giday (Eth) Ethiopia National Team0:02:19
10Kent Main (RSA) Dimension Data For Qhubeka0:03:42
11Gasore Hategeka (Rwa) Club Benediction0:03:47
12Salim Kipkemboi (Ken) Bike Aid0:03:48
13Jean Claude Uwizeye (Rwa) Rwanda National Team0:04:55
14Ephrem Tuyishimire (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs0:05:17
15Stefan de Bod (RSA) Dimension Data For Qhubeka0:09:02
16Azzedine Lagab (Alg) Algeria National Team0:09:12
17Samuel Mugisha (Rwa) Dimension Data For Qhubeka0:09:18
18Aron Debretsion (Eri) Eritrea National Team0:09:19
19Natnael Mebrahtom (Eri) Eritrea National Team0:09:23
20Saymon Musie Mehari (Eri) Eritrea National Team
21Amanueal Tsegay (Eri) Eritrea National Team0:09:29
22Tamrat Meresa Gebrewahd (Eth) Ethiopia National Team0:09:34
23Eric Nduwayo (Rwa) Club Benediction0:09:42
24Jean Claude Mfitumukiza (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs0:10:08
25Olivier le Court de Billot (Mri) Mauritius Equipe National0:10:33
26Bonaventure Uwizeyimana (Rwa) Club Benediction0:13:37
27Jean Paul René Ukiniwabo (Rwa) Rwanda National Team0:17:18
28Joshphat Gathiambo (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom0:17:56
29Redwan Ebrahim (Eth) Ethiopia National Team0:21:03
30Christopher Rougier-Lagane (Mri) Mauritius Equipe National0:24:18
31John Kariuki (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom0:24:32
32Fiseha Gebremariam (Eth) Ethiopia National Team0:27:11
33Geoffrey Langat (Ken) Bike Aid0:27:41
34Edward Greene (RSA) Lowestrates.Ca0:28:00
35Janvier Rugamba (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs0:29:15
36Jean Damascene Ruberwa (Rwa) Club Benediction0:29:56
37Islam Mansouri (Alg) Algeria National Team0:32:11
38Tedros Redae (Eth) Ethiopia National Team0:32:22
39Jimmy Uwingeneye (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs0:35:20
40Yannick Lincoln (Mri) Mauritius Equipe National0:39:04
41Alexandre Mayer (Mri) Mauritius Equipe National0:41:18
42Andrew Kimutai (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom0:44:29
43Alex Nizeyimana (Rwa) Club Benediction0:46:29
44Abderrahmane Mansouri (Alg) Algeria National Team0:47:42
45Samuel Hakiruwizeye (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs0:54:01
46Cornelius Kipkemboi Kiplagat (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom0:57:40
47Yacine Hamza (Alg) Algeria National Team1:03:33
48Kelvin Kipng'etich Kiplagat (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom1:08:12
49Matthew How Saw Keng (Mri) Mauritius Equipe National1:13:00
50Mehdi Lounis (Alg) Algeria National Team1:15:38

Teams classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Rwanda Equipe Nationale30:46:24
2Dimension Data For Qhubeka0:01:53
3Bike Aid0:04:42
4Eritrea National Team0:17:08
5Club Benediction0:25:02
6Ethiopia National Team0:26:53
7Les Amis Sportifs0:31:39
8Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes0:32:00
9Team Illuminate0:40:07
10Maurice Equipe Nationale1:06:56
12Tirol Cycling Team1:11:00
13Kenyan Riders Safaricom1:24:29
14Algerie Equipe Nationale1:26:50

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Zeb Woodpower is the Australian editor at Cyclingnews. Based in Sydney, Zeb provides an Australian perspective on the sport with articles ranging from the local to the global . He joined Cyclingnews in 2013.

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