French rider Yohann Gène wrote a new page in Gabon after he won the 2017 Tropicale Amissa Bongo cycling event.
Gene won the African race for the second time in his career finishing the race in 19 hours 41 minutes and 21 seconds.
“It’s true that it’s a new victory.. so it’s good,” said the Direct Energie rider who first participated in the event in 2009.
Gene, 35, and also the winner of the event in 2013, won seven stages in total.
“Two or three days ago, we thought it was going to be complicated and we reversed the trend,” added team-mate Thomas Voecler, winner of Friday’s stage.
Eritrean Issak Tesfom Okubamariam of Interpro team confirmed his status as the best African rider of the year after finishing second overall.
His compatriot Méron Abraham won the 137.5-kilometer last leg in a sprint finish.
“African cyclists have shown us from year to year during the various stages that they like attacking,” said Gabonese President Ali Bongo who was the chief guest of the event.
The race was however marred by the suspension of the Gabonese team after its riders boycotted the event over unpaid bonuses and lack of physical preparation since the departure of their coach, the former Spanish glory Abraham Olano.
“We have taken very strong measures. The technical director was sacked, the president of the Federation was summoned to resign and the six riders were struck out, “Gabon’s sports minister Nicole Asselé told reporters at the finish line.
1. Yohann Gene (FRANCE / Direct Energie)
2. Issak Tesfom Okubamariam (ERITREA/ Cycling Academy)
3. Nikodemus Holler (GERMANY / Bike Aid)
4. Salaheddine Mraouni (MOROCCO)
5. Soufiane Sahbaoui (MOROCCO)