It was the Rwandan racing cyclist Joseph Areruya who won the first edition of the 2018 Tour de l’Espoir. At the age of 22, he was already the winner of the Tour of Rwanda in November 2017 and the Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Libreville in early January 2018.
Fifteen national teams, all African except for Vietnam, took part in this race, the first Coupe des Nations to take place on African soil, which was held from January 31 to February 4 covering approximately 420 km.
The first two stages of the four making up the race were dominated by the Eritrean team: a victory for Natnael Mebrahtom in Douala on the first day, then one for Daniel Habtemichael. The Rwandan team imposed themselves during the third stage, hosted in Yaoundé, the city with seven hills, notably including the ascent of Mvolyé, with Samuel Mugisha and Joseph Areruya crossing the finish line first. The final stage was won once again by an Eritrean cyclist, Henok Mulubrhan.
On the final podium stood Joseph Areruya, who completed the 403.9 km of the race in 10:27:34, followed by two Moroccan cyclists, El Mehdi Chokri and Mohcine El Kouraji, at 2’40’’ and 3’06’’ respectively. Fourth in the general classification was another Rwandan, Jean Paul René Ukiniwabo (at 4’43’’), with Aidan Van Niekerk from South Africa (at 5’28’’) in fifth place.