TEAM Rwanda cyclists will be up against some of the world’s best in the road race of the Commonwealth Games which draw to a close tomorrow.
The 168km race will attract 116 riders from 34 countries, ten of whom are from African countries. Joseph Areruya and Valens Ndayisenga finished in 13th and 24th position, respectively, in the Individual Time Trial (ITT) on Tuesday and will be hoping for a better showing today.
Team Rwanda coach Felix Sempona told Saturday Sport that today’s race is the most grueling and competitive.
“It will be very exhausting and we are not focusing on winning medals, but rather on having our cyclists reach finish the race,” he said. “Such competitions never leave our riders the same, there is always something new they learn.”
Hosts Australia won the men and women’s time trial cycling events in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018.
Team Rwanda Cycling is making its second appearance in the field of cycling and will be led by Rwanda’s top ranked cyclist and two-time Tour du Rwanda champion Valens Ndayisenga.
The duo will be joined by former La Tropicale Amissa Bongo stage winner Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, former African Championship silver medalist Jean Claude Uwizeye as well as youngsters Didier Munyaneza and Jean Paul Rene Ukiniwabo.
In the men’s road race at the 2014 edition, Rwanda also fielded six riders but none of them managed to finish the race, which was won by Wales’ Thomas Geraith. Only 12 riders on the 120-cyclist start list crossed the finish-line.
After today’s race, Areruya, Ndayisenga and Uwizeye will had to their respective new teams in France. 22-year old Areruya was recently signed by Delko–Marseille Provence KTM on a two-year contract, while Ndayisenga and Uwizeye will be joining Pays Olonne Cycliste Côte de Lumière.