Team Rwanda begin medal pursuit at Tour of Eritrea


Club Benediction riders Jean Bosco Nsengimana (left) and Bonaventure Uwizeyimana (right) will lead Team Rwanda's roster at the five-day event. / Sam Ngendahimana

Tour of Eritrea 2017
Apr. 18: Stage 1 - Dbarwa › Keren (124.75km)
Apr. 19: Stage 2 - Keren › Barentu (142.14km)
Apr. 20: Stage 3 - Hagaz › Asmara (117.16km)
Apr. 21: Stage 4 - Mendefera › Massawa (169.94km)
Apr. 22: Stage 5 - Massawa › Asmara (107.79km)
Apr. 23: Asmara circuit (129.6km)

Team Rwanda riders will begin their quest for medals at this year’s 14th edition of Tour of Eritrea that starts today and will run until April 22.

The six riders under head coach Sterling Magnell have been in Eritrea for the past six days getting through their paces ahead of this year’s edition. They competed in two Africa UCI Circuits, namely; Fenkil Northern Red Sea Challenge that took place on April 15 and Massawa Circuit on April 16.

The six riders include 2015 Tour du Rwanda champion Jean Bosco Nsengimana, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, 2016 African Championship U23 road race silver medalist Jean Claude Uwizeye, Jean Paul Rene Ukiniwabo, Eric Nduwayo and Didier Munyaneza.

During the Fenkil Northern Red Sea Challenge (113km), Jean Claude Uwizeye was Rwanda’s best performer finishing in the fourth place while in the Massawa circuit, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana finished in the ninth place as Rwanda’s best performer.

Eritrean Simon Musie won the 117.7km race after posting 2 hours, 55 minutes and 18 seconds.

Following their modest performances at the La Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon and Tour of Cameroon, Team Rwanda riders are aiming to make amendments at this year’s Tour of Eritrea that has over the years been dominated by the home riders, according to a recent interview with team captain Nsengimana.

“We are confident about our chances to win this tour or at least win some stages, we haven’t done well in recent races this year, but we have made some adjustments in areas where the coach thought we need to improve,” said Nsengimana

Last year, Rwanda fielded four riders, with Joseph Areruya being the best performer in 15th place while Camera Hakuzimana and Uwizeye came in 17th and 18th places respectively. Ephrem Tuyishime finished in the 27th place. Eritrean, Goitom Merhawi, is the defending champion.