The New Times Kigali Jejje Muhinde
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Rwandan cyclists Valens Ndayisenga, Joseph Areruya, and Jean Bosco Nsengimana have been included on the list of 20 riders nominated for the best African cyclist of 2016. However, this award is different from the UCI Africa Tour Cyclist of the Year Award.

This trophy-award, created in 2012 by the Gabonese organisers of Tropicale Amissa Bongo, aims to recognise the rider who has contributed most to African cycling.

A jury, chaired by Bernard Hinault, the five-time winner of the Tour de France, and comprising sports directors, coaches, African and European journalists will be voting for the successor of Natnael Berhane (2012), Louis Meintjes (2013), Mekseb Debesay (2014) and Daniel Teklehaimanot (2015), the previous winners.

Ndayisenga, who last month won his second victory on the mountainous Tour of Rwanda after 2014, is one of the stars of African cycling. His first experience at professional cycling in South Africa with UCI Continental Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, has been beneficial.

His best results in 2016 include: Winner of the Tour du Rwanda (UCI 2.2) and 2 stages, African Continental Champion ITT U23, and 18th in the Trofeo Beato Bernardo (Italia – UCI 1.2 U). Areruya, aged 20, is the other Rwandan, who will join Dimension Data on a one year contract. He has been nominated on the back of not being afraid of anything, he knows how to attack and in the sprint his physical power makes the difference.

During the 2016 Tour du Rwanda, the young rider, from Rwamagana, finished fourth. He won Stage 2 (Kigali-Huye) and Stage 4 (Rusizi-Huye).

He was the best combative rider of the Tropicale Amissa Bongo (Gabon-UCI 2.1) race, and winner of Critérium International of Constantine (Algeria – UCI 2.1).

Nseingimana, 23, who rode for Germany-based Team Stradalli-Bike Aid in this year’s Tour du Rwanda, is the third Rwandan up for the award. His time with the German continental team allowed him to acquire more maturity and experience in competing away from Rwanda.

His best performance this year include; winner of stage 1 of the Tour of Cameroon (UCI 2.2), winner of stage 1 of the GP Chantal Biya (Cameroon – UCI 2.2), and 8th in the Tropicale Amissa Bongo, stage Meyo Kye-Oyem (Gabon – UCI 2.1). He came into this year’s Tour du Rwanda as the defending champion.

South African side – Dimension Data has four riders that have been nominated. Also nominated is Eritea’s Eyob Metkel aged 23 (Dimension Data for Qhubeka). He finished the season like a rocket at the Tour of Rwanda where he went to the leader.

The winner will be announced on December 21 at a ceremony in Libreville, Gabon.

The full list:

Essaid Abelouache (Morocco, Nasr Dubai)

Joseph Areruya (Rwanda)

Valens Ndayisenga (Rwanda – Dimension Data)

Jean-Bosco Nsengimana (Rwanda – Team Stradalli-Bike Aid)

Adil Barbari (Algeria, Nasr Dubai)

Natnael Berhane (Eritrea – Dimension Data)

Isiaka Cisse (Ivory Coast – SC Nice Jollywear)

Eyob Metkel (Eritrea – Dimension Data)

Grmay Tsgabu (Ethiopia – Lampre-Merida)

Impey Daryl (South Africa – Orica BikeExchange)

Janse Van Rensburg Reinardt (South Africa – Dimension Data)

Jelloul Adil (Morocco – Skydive Dubaï)

Clovis Kamzong (Cameroon)

Lagab Azzedine (Algeria)

Lahsaini Mouhssine (Morocco)

Mansouri Abderrahmane (Algeria)

Louis Meintjes (South Africa – Lampre Merida)

Okubamariam Tesfom (Eritrea – Sharjah Team

Sorgho Mathias (Burkina Faso)

Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eritrea, Dimension Data)