Joseph Areruya wins Stage 5a at the U23 Giro D'Italia to mark our first win at a UCI race!
Tuesday 13 June 2017 marks a historic day for cycling in Rwanda, our 21-year old rising star Joseph (riding for his pro team Dimension Data Continental) watched and waited for his chance to make history for both Rwanda and his team.
He had already worn the Green Jersey as he led the King of the Mountains category after the first stage, with then him and the rest of his team supporting the South African climber Nicholas Dlamini who has dominated this category all race. Joseph was alert and watched several attacks form and fade and then with 5km to go, with 3km being climbing (including an 18% gradient at points), our young Rwandan star made his move and pulled a 25" second lead very quickly. Rwandan riders are known for their climbing ability and this held true as he held of all chasers to take the victory.
Watch our young star Joseph cross the line to make history!
This is Rwanda's first ever stage win in a UCI top level race in Europe, and it also proved to be Team Dimension Data Continental's first ever win in Europe also so there were huge celebrations! Andrew Smith, the team's Sport Director, explained:
"The team has been racing so well this week though and buoyed by this confidence, they have been racing from the front and when you are at the front opportunities will arise. Joseph took his opportunity and he showed how strong he was today because no team could bring him back. It was a fantastic win and a special day for our team."
Joseph's progression has been excellent since he first joined Team Rwanda in 2011. His father, Gahemba Marivian, was a famous domestic bike racer in Rwanda and a key source of inspiration to a young Areurya. He raced in the club system in Rwanda and joined the national squad to train at the home of Rwanda cycling, the Africa Rising Cycling Center, run by Jock Boyer and Kimberly Coat. Jock coached Joseph from 2011 to early 2015 when the national team appointed ex-US pro rider Sterling Magnell as the new head coach who has guided Joseph since then.
Although Dimension Data had been monitoring Joseph for a few years, 2016 was a key year for the rider the Rwandans call 'Kimasa' - the beast! Last year, under the eye of Magnell, Joseph raced an intense international schedule including: La Tropicale Amissa Bongo (2.1) in January, the Tour of Algeria (1.2/2.2) in March, the Tour of Eritrea (2.2) in April, the Vuelta a Colombia (2.2) in June, the debut month-long UK Tour in July which included an exclusive invitation to the Ride London Classic (1.HC) where Joseph and three other U23 Team Rwanda riders raced against Chris Froome and several other World Tour riders, finishing with the Doha World Championships in October and a great showing from Joseph in the Tour de Rwanda (2.2) finishing in 4th overall in the GC.
Head coach Sterling Magnell shared his thoughts on his pride and satisfaction with Areruya's development:
"Winning a race like this is a hugely gratifying form of feedback for Joseph, for cycling in Rwanda and every team player that dedicates themselves to the sport. I'm extremely proud of this kid. Proud of him for being a good bike racer of course, for figuring out how to be the best on his day and win. For always giving 100% (almost) every day I've known him. But mostly I'm proud of the young man he is. I'm proud of him for listening, for turning his life around when it mattered. I'm proud of his work ethic and his character. I'm proud of the way he listened to his elders, his coaches, his countrymen that sought to guide him. I'm proud of him for putting on an apron and cooking for his teammates. I'm proud of him for turning around and giving his junior teammate a massage, (even though he doesn't know how) at the world championships because I tried my best to give HIM one when we had no soigneur. He pays attention, he learns, and he gets after it. He's always had the memoirs. Today was a milestone made by a kid on the right track."
We are so happy to see one of the Team Rwanda Cycling 'graduates' achieve such a wonderful result and this will give Joseph a great foundation to continue his new journey into the international professional cycling ranks, as well as inspire many of his countrymen and women!
This success, and everything we achieve and deliver as Team Rwanda Cycling, is due to our amazing sponsors and donors. Our sponsors help us hugely with the equipment, kit and clothing we need to be able to compete and train. We have a very cool online tool which allows you to navigate a Team Rwanda bike and rider to see who supports us with which cutting edge products. Take a look HERE.
Equally importantly, our young men and women - and their families - could not achieve any of this at all without our donors. We have hundreds of amazing donors across the world who believe in and support our mission to find raw Rwandan talent, train and educate these young men and women and then bring them to national, regional and international racing. Team Rwanda Cycling riders are inspirations to their countryfolk and help Rwanda heal and grow as the country rises from the ashes of its past. We always need more though.
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