Two-time Tour du Rwanda champion Valens Ndayisenga and Jean-Claude Uwizeye left the country on Saturday night to France, where they were due to join their new club Pays Olonne Cycliste Côte de Lumière.
Pays Olonne Cycliste Côte de Lumière (POCCL) is a professional cycling club affiliated to French Federation of Cycling (FFC) since 1992.
The club possesses a senior team, a junior team and a cycling academy.
The two Rwanda internationals completed their move to POCCL in February on a one-year contract, but had to delay their move until after the XXI Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, staged this month in Queensland, Australia.
While this will be Uwizeye’s first professional club, it is the third cycling club for Ndayisenga.
Previously, Ndayisenga rode for South Africa’s Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s continental team – in 2016 – before joining Austria’s Tirol Cycling Team last year.
Ndayisenga and Uwizeye, both 24, started their cycling careers with Rwamagana-based Les Amis Sportifs. Ndayisenga went on to win highly coveted Tour du Rwanda title twice (2014 and 2016) while Uwizeye claimed silver medal in U23 men’s road race at the 2015 African Continental Road Championships in Morocco.
The duo is part of a six-man Team Rwanda contingent fresh from the Commonwealth Games. Led by Africa’s highest ranked rider Joseph Areruya, the squad also included Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, Didier Munyaneza and Jean-Paul René Ukiniwabo.
Ndayisenga joins his new side with a left arm injury to nurse before starting rigorous training while Uwizeye will join training immediately upon reaching the team’s boot camp.