Team Rwanda eye historic win in key continental race


Team Rwanda rider Valens Ndayisenga will be hunting for medals in the African Championships tomorrow. S. Ngendahimana.


Official opening ceremony
Team Time Trial (Boys & Girls): 18.6km
Team Time Trial (juniors): 18.6km
Team Time Trial (Women Seniors): 40km
Team Time Trial (Men Seniors): 40km

Feb. 15
Individual Time Trial (Boys & Girls): 18.6km
Individual Time Trial (Boys Junior): 18,6km
Individual Time Trial (Women Senior): 40km
Individual Time Trial (Men Senior): 40km

Feb. 17
Junior race: 72km
Men U23: 84km

Feb. 18
Road Race: 168km

FOLLOWING their recent triumphant performance at several international competitions, Team Rwanda will be targeting a historic feat at this year’s 14th edition of African Continental Road Cycling Championships, according to two-time medal winner Valens Ndayisenga.

The annual event is scheduled to get underway this Wednesday and will run through April 18 in Nyamata and Kigali.

More than 22 African countries are expected to participate in the annual event, which Rwanda will be hosting for the second time since 2010 with continental giants including Eritrea, Algeria, Morocco, South Africa and Ethiopia expected to give Team Rwanda a run for their money.

Since 2013, Rwanda has won a total of eight medals at this annual event. However, they are yet to win the men elite road race title.

However, according to two-time Tour du Rwanda champion Ndayisenga, the team is ready to put the home advantage to good use.

“We have become competitors and no longer participants and our recent performances at various competitions prove it, this is a very huge competition both to individual players and the team and country, we want to maintain our winning streak,” said Ndayisenga in an exclusive interview with Times Sport.

The former Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka rider has two medals on his name from this particular competition, including a silver medal he won in 2015 U23 Time Trial before scooping gold in the same category in 2016.

In 2017, he added a bronze medal he won with Team Rwanda in the Team Time Trial.

“We know most of the riders who will be taking part, some of them we have been with them in the same team before, they are good and tough players but this year our focus is to win everything mostly the road race, this is a one-day event and we shall have to fight until the last minute,” he added.

Among other medals that Rwanda has won include the 2009 bronze medal that came courtesy of Adrien Niyonshuti in the U23 Road Race, and the 2013 bronze medal by Janvier Hadi also in the U23 men’s road race. In 2016, Jean Claude Uwizeye also won a silver medal in the same category while female rider Jeanne d’Arc Girubuntu scooped a silver medal in the Individual Time Trial.

In 2017, reigning Tour du Rwanda, La Tropicale Amisa Bongo and Tour de l’Espoir champion, Joseph Areruya won a bronze medal in the Individual Time Trial and was part of the team that took the same medal in Team time Trial.

Team Rwanda Squad

Men Elite: Jean Bosco Nsengimana, Patrick Byukusenge, Jean Claude Uwizeye, Valens Ndayisenga, Adrien Niyonshuti, Joseph Areruya, Samuel Mugisha and Didier Munyaneza.

Women Elite: Béathe Ingabire, Jeanne d’Arc Girubuntu, Magnifique Manizabayo and Jacqueline Tuyishimire

Men Junior: Jean Eric Habimana, Yves Nkurunziza, Barnabé Gahemba, and Jean Claude Nzafashwanayo

Women Junior: Samantha Mushimiyimana and Violette Irakoze Neza.