January 16, 2006 – The inaugural Tropicale Amissa Bongo took place from January 12-15 under the typically sunny skies in the State of Gabon, Republic of Congo. The race has the distinction of having riders cross the Equator in the Congo basin, the second largest and most important forest region aside from the Amazon in Brazil. Also, the leader’s jersey is mentored by France’s Richard Virenque — former Tour de France competitor, and also distinguished as the winner of many “˜Best Climber’ jerseys.
The international race, named in honour of the deceased daughter of Chief of State, Omar Bongo Ondimba, featured over 90 racers from over 25 countries — including six European teams and eight African teams. Among the riders was Canada’s Dominique Rollin, racing for the French team, VC Roubaix.
In Stage One, riders embarked on a 78 km circuit race in Bifoun-LambarÃ©nÃ© where Rollin finished 9th, 1:56 behind leader Jussi Veikkanen (FranÃ§ais des Jeux) who had a time 1:39:21. Veikkanen’s teammate Frederic Guesdon was second 16 seconds behind, and Eygeny Sokolov (VÃ©lo Club la Pomme Marseille) rolled in at 18 seconds down for third place.
Stage Two was a grueling 149K road race in LambarÃ©nÃ©-Kango, where Rollin showed his endurance and strength, finishing an impressive 3rd, behind first place Lillan Jegou (FDJ), and second place, MichaÃ«l Blanchy, (JAR). *exact times unavailable for this report.
The third and final Stage took place in Ntoum-Libreville, where another sizable 120K route awaited riders. Here Rollin again had a great race finishing third again, behind winner Michael Blanchy (JAR) with Christophe Dettilloux (FDJ) in second. *exact times unavailable for this report.
In the final standings, it was Veikkanen (FDJ) who took first, followed by Guesdon (FDJ) and Sokolov (VCP); while Rollin held on to 10th place — a great start to the season.
General Classment Overall – La Tropicale Amissa Bongo
1- Jussi Veikkanen, FranÃ§aise des Jeux, 8h 30m 42
2- FrÃ©dÃ©ric Guesdon, FranÃ§aise des Jeux, Ã 14 sec
3- Eygeny Sokolov, VC La Pomme Marseille, Ã 18 sec
10- Dominique Rollin, VC Roubaix, Ã 1m 48