RWANDA cycling governing body (Ferwacy) president Aimable Bayingana has showered praises on six Rwandan cyclists who are fresh from representing the country at the 17th Tour du Senegal.
“The boys did a fantastic job on an unfamiliar terrain in Senegal. I had the opportunity to be there and I can attest to that,” Bayingana told Times Sport on Tuesday.
“It was a good experience overall,” he said in reference to the relatively flat landscape that presented a particular challenge to Rwandan bikers who are used to the hilly terrain of Rwanda.
At the annual 2.2 UCI category race held from April 23-29 across the Western African country, Felix Sempoma’s Team Rwanda finished third – in 19 teams – after Sovac-Natura4Ever of Algeria and German side Team Embrace the World.
Rwanda finished in the top position among the 12 national teams in the contest.
Former national champion and stage winner at the 2014 La Tropicale Amissa Bongo tour, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, was Rwanda’s best rider in the Tour du Senegal coming in fourth place in general classification.
The 25-year old former Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s continental team rider came so close to winning stages 5 and 8, but ultimately fell just short, finishing in second place on both occasions.
“Rwandan cyclists are known to be strong in hilly conditions but the landscape in Senegal was totally flat. We still lack strong sprinters but we leant valuable lessons nonetheless, we will look to improve on that aspect,” Bayingana noted.
Former Team Rwanda captain Janvier Hadi finished in the 16th place out of 59 riders that managed to complete the 7-day race, which was claimed by Namibia international Dan Craven.
Algeria’s Hamza Mehdi and Dutch rider Rick Nobel finished second and third, respectively.
Rwanda’s youngster Didier Munyaneza finished in the 20th place and fifth in the youth category. Paul Uwiduhaye finished in 26th, Patrick Byukusenge in 30th while Jean-Paul René Ukiniwabo came in the 31st place.
After Tour du Senegal, Team Rwanda will now turn their focus on this year’s Farmers’ Circuit scheduled for May 19 – one of the 11 races that make up the 2018 Rwanda Cycling Cup.