Published on :
The Tropicale Amissa Bongo, a Gabonese stage race, is regaining its place on the international calendar from January 23 to 29, after two editions canceled due to Covid-19.
It has been two years since the world cycling calendar was disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. This time, the usual early season races are all on the program and the African continent must be satisfied with the return of the Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon.
On the Tropicale, several African riders proved to be
« I am happy with the enthusiasm surrounding this new edition. Everyone was waiting for this moment, both the population and the African and professional cycling teams and all those who work for the organization “says Benjamin Burlot, director of La Tropicale.
On the Gabonese roads, several African riders have come to light, like Biniam Girmay (winner of three stages on the Tropicale), who is now recognized worldwide with his two prestigious successes in 2022: the classic Ghent-Wevelgem and a stage on the Tour of Italy. His compatriot, Natnael Berhane, winner of the Tropicale in 2014, will be among the peloton of the 2023 edition. In 2018, the Rwandan Joseph Areruya had put his name on the list. In the last edition, five of the seven stages were won by African riders, notably the Cameroonian Clovis Kamzong and the Algerian Youcef Reguigui.
In 2006, the President of the Republic Omar Bongo had promised that the race would be made permanent. It was only the Covid-19 pandemic to stop the Tropicale, whose first winner was Finnish. Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, Gabon, Morocco, Rwanda, Mauritius and Benin will represent the continent in 2023.
Five of the nine provinces of Gabon crossed
Created in 2006, the Gabonese race also serves as a preparation for several European teams, particularly French ones. The TotalEnergies squad can count on Lorrenzo Manzin (28), who has already won three stages in Gabon. Émilien Jeannière and Mattéo Vercher, who will make their first professional race under the jersey of TotalEnergies, are also in the selection.
The Spanish team Burghos BH, the Belgian team Bingoal-WB, the Turkish team Beykoz Team-Turkey and the American formation EF Education-Nippo DT will also be traveling to perform during the seven stages. These last four will discover Gabon.
The 16th edition of the Tropicale will visit five of the nine provinces of Gabon, with a big start in the north of the country, in Woleu-Ntem between Bitam and Oyem then towards Mitzic. Ngounié, Moyen-Ogooué, Ogooué Maritime and the Estuary will also be crossed during this week of racing.
« Everyone will be in the swing of things from day one »
« It is a well-balanced course with a fairly difficult first stage (Bitam-Oyem, 122, km). The urban circuit of Oyem will be accentuated by a climb to be climbed four times. This will have an impact on the general classification. Everyone will be in the swing of things from day one commented Benjamin Burlot. ” For the third day, there is Lébamba-Mouilla, an unprecedented stage, which could allow a backpacker to put himself forward. The next day, we will go to Lambaréné where the Eritrean Daniel Teklehaimanot had signed the first stage victory for an African rider on the Tropicale in 2011. » The race will stop in Port-Gentil on the sixth day.
The final finish will take place as usual in Libreville, on the initial circuit of the first edition in 2006, in front of the Senate on the Boulevard Triomphal.
The 2023 course will once again offer the various specialists the opportunity to shine on all terrains. Sprinters will be able to take advantage of the arrivals in Port-Gentil and Libreville. As for the punchers, they should logically shine in Lambaréné and Oyem. On January 29, there will finally be a successor to Jordan Levasseurwinner of the 2020 edition.