BY TROPICALE AMISSA BONGA
This year, La Tropicale has reached a remarkable cruising speed. At the opening of the 2020 cycling season in January, the Gabonese event allowed African riders to express themselves as never before.
If the victory finally went to the Frenchman Jordan Levasseur, everything was played out in the last kilometers of the last stage in Libreville. It took only a second for the young Eritrean Natnael Tesfazion to drop his yellow jersey after five days of reign.
But we will not forget the five African stage victories when the maximum achieved so far was only two victories of African riders during the 2014 edition of the Tropicale.
This time, the entire African continent is represented in this magnificent balance sheet with East Africa of the inescapable Eritreans (3 stages), the Maghreb for Algeria (1 stage), Central Africa for Cameroon (1 victory).
It is two last countries which had never won a stage on the Tropicale, they are now engraved in the prize list thanks to Algerian Youcef Reguigui, winner at Bifoun and Cameroonian Clovis Kamzong, winner at Ndjolé.
The Eritreans also met the expectations of observers by winning three stages, one by Natnael Tesfazion in Oyem on the second day, which enabled him to wear the yellow jersey for five days until Libreville, and two by the prodigy Biniam Girmay, who at only 19 years old, managed the double on this 2020 edition, which adds to his 2019 victory.
Biniam Girmay is the youngest rider in the history of the Tropicale to have already won three stages.
🚴HE DID IT AGAIN🚴♀️
— TN 🔆 (@tesfanews) January 25, 2020
Nothing was easy for the professionals who fought to the end for the victory . Because after the victory of the Italian Attilio Viviani on the first day, it was not until the closing in Libreville to see another European professional win, the French sprinter Lorrenzo Manzin.
With only two stages on their clock, they are far from the balance sheets of other years when they brought back between five and six victories per edition.
This 15th edition, faithful to the very high standards of organization of the event, it was also marked by the speed record that was set in 2013.
The riders covered the Tropicale 2020 in 43.45 km/hr, compared to 42.91 km/hr seven years ago. In 2019, the race was run at 40.89 km/hr.
The fastest online stage also took place this year, between Lambaréné and Bifoun at 46,85 km/hr, the last record dates back to 2014 between Owendo and Libreville in 46,79 km/hr.
All this performances this week, especially those of African riders, did not escape the Gabonese public who came out with more numbers this year on the roadsides of the five provinces crossed by the Tropicale which remains the major event of African sport.
🇬🇦 @tropicale2020 Classifications after stage 6
— Zero_X (@ZXCycling) January 26, 2020
Final (7th) Stage of 15th La Tropical Amissa Bongo ended today. Natnael Tesfatsion misses Yellow Jersey by smallest of margins; retains White Jersey & is 1st in Youth Classification. Biniyam Ghirmay retains Green Jersey while Dawit Yemane is KOM. Kudos!!
— Yemane G. Meskel (@hawelti) January 26, 2020
Final (stage 7) classifications👇. Nathnael lost the yellow jersey in one second difference but the Team kept the other Jersey's. Great Job Team #Eritrea and congratulations for showing the whole world what you capable of. 🇪🇷🇪🇷🇪🇷💪💪👏👏👏 #AmissaBongo2020 #Tropicale2020 pic.twitter.com/Gb1ZHjX5lG
— Come And See 🇪🇷🇪🇷 (@DahlaKib) January 26, 2020
— La Tropicale (@tropicale2020) January 25, 2020