He won the first lap of the race run between Yaounde and Bafia in 2’59’37” and took over the yellow jersey.

Yannick Lontsi Yemeli has rekindled the hope of Cameroon winning this year’s edition of the Grand prix Chantal Biya. Despite stiff resistance from the Moroccans and Germans, the cyclist from the SNH Velo club won the first lap of the race run between Yaounde and Bafia yesterday covering the 122.7 kilometre distance in 2’59’37”. He was closely followed by Cisse Issaka from Côte d’Ivoire with a time record of 2’59’39”. Nguimkeng Franklin from the Inter Regional selection from Cameroon came third position with 2’59’39 just as the second. Ghislain Sikandji and Mbah Hervé Raoul came fourth and fifth respectively. However all is not yet won for Cameroon as the Moroccan, who won the prologue, Aberlouache Essaid, appears on the 6th position on the classification table, barely 11 seconds away from the race leader. Cameroonian cyclists therefore have to remain vigilant and cautious in the race.

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Thanks to his victory, Yemeli Lontsi Yannick took over the yellow jersey from Aberlouache, as well as the shy blue jersey for the best African. He also won the green jersey for the best athletes on the general classification by points. Mraouni Salah Eddine of Morocco won the white dotted red T-shirt reserved for the best climber. The arrival of the race caravan also spiced celebrations marking the 32 anniversary of the ascension of President Biya to power. Minister Koung à Bessike Jacqueline who was in Bafia for the anniversary celebrations offered special bonuses to the Cameroonian cyclists for the brilliant performance and offered a diner to the whole caravan. The ceremony was also attended by the SDO for Mbam and Mp for the area. The major attraction in Bafia was a tele-guided drone used for video surveillance to make sure there no cheating and for shooting motion pictures of the race. The flying object was the focus of attention at every stop.

The race enters the second lap today and will be run between Yaounde and Ebolowa covering a distance of 155.3km. Like the Bafia lap, the Ebolowa lap is fairly flap with little undulation and will therefore be favourable to sprinters once more.

© Fred VUBEM TOH | Cameroon Tribune