JOSEPH ARERUYA’S SPORTS FAIRYTALE: THE FIRST BLACK AFRICAN IN THE ROUBAIX VELODROME
My name is Joseph Areruya and I ride with the French team Delko Marseille Province.
Last April 14th, I had the honour of becoming the first black African to participate in and complete the Paris-Roubaix, the legendary cobblestone classic.
I was born 23 years ago in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. I started cycling when I was twelve years old. In my country the bicycle is a universal means of transportation, they are even used as taxis or to haul goods. Rwanda is known as “the land of a thousand hills”, and anyone who has been there knows how fitting that nickname is. The spectacular morphology of this territory is probably why it only took a few years for the Tour du Rwanda to become an international event, and this has contributed even further to expanding the entire cycling movement in the country.
As a rookie in 2017, I managed to score a stage in the Giro d’Italia Under 23. In 2018, I joined Team Delko Marseille Province as a neo-pro and I was elected African cyclist of the year, due in large part to the successes I garnered in the general classification at the Tropicale Amissa Bongo and the National Championship title I won in the time trial.
The goal for 2019 was to participate in the Paris-Roubaix as well as other races, and I’d like to thank my team for this incredible opportunity. I really like racing on cobbles, it is an incredibly compelling race. I felt right at home on the cobblestones, in spite of a fall that complicated my approach towards the Velodrome. Being able to finish the Paris-Roubaix was tremendously satisfying and in the next several years I will try to improve upon this result.
I competed in the Paris-Roubaix on my Aspide Racing Pro Series and I have to say that it is an excellent product.
Even though the cobbles were very bumpy, I had no problems in terms of comfort and performance.
The life of a cyclist requires consistency and dedication. My days are measured on a strict schedule: wake up early in the morning, have breakfast and then take off for the first training session of the day, but not before I’ve polished my bike. I like every part of my bike to be clean and shiny when I go out for a ride. After lunch, I take a break before going back to training with tailored stretching and exercises for joint mobility. After dinner I relax for a few hours before going to sleep. The next day I will work out some more for several hours.
Cheers to all of you and keep following me on the roads of great cycling.
Copyright pictures LeDams / Régis Garnier