Teams to participate in the annual 2016 Tour du Rwanda international cycling event have been unveiled. For the first time Rwanda will be represented by one national team and two local clubs. The organising committee has set 13th to 20th November 2016 as the official dates for the 8th edition of the popular cycling race.
Rwanda will be represented by the National Team, Club Benediction of Rubavu and Sports Club Friends of Rwamagana. Previously, Rwanda was fielding three national teams – Akagera, Karisimbi and Muhabura.
Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY) Permanent Secretary Emmanuel Murenzi said the change in tactic to have two local clubs and one national team will help the teams to gain a lot in the competition.
“We have chosen to use clubs in order to give them platform and exposure so that they can market themselves. We need them to have ambitions. They will be performing at the international level,” Murenzi said.
Murenzi added that the top riders will ride for their clubs while the remaining will be chosen to ride for the national team.
“The clubs will choose their riders while the rest will ride for the national team and this year we have strong teams, so we hope to see good competition,” he noted.
The new teams include Dimension Data For Qhubeka (South-Africa), Kenyan Riders Down-under (Kenya), Sharjah Cycling Team (United Arab Emirates) and Cycling Academy Team (Israel).
Rwanda won the last two editions through Valens Ndayisenga and Jean Bosco Nsegimana. In 2014, Ndayisenga became the first Rwandan rider to win the Tour du Rwanda since its inception on the UCI Africa calendar in 2009, and was dethroned by teammate, Nsengimana.
For the first time the race will reach the Southern part of the country following the addition of two new routes; Karongi-Rusizi (115.9km) and Rusizi-Huye (140.7km) as the annual event passes through Rwanda’s vast tropical rainforest of Nyungwe.
This year’s edition will have over 85 riders under 17 teams from different parts of the world set to grace the 2.2 UCI-Africa competitions.
5 African national teams:
• National Team of South Africa
• National Team of Ethiopia
• National Team of Eritrea
• National Team of Egypt
• National Team of Algeria
5 UCI continental teams:
• Dimension Data For Qhubeka (South-Africa)
• Kenyan Riders Downunder (Kenya)
• Sharjah Cycling Team (United Arab Emirates)
• Cycling Academy Team (Israel)
• Tirol Cycling Team (Austria)
• Stradalli Bike Aid (Germany)
3 Regional teams or clubs:
• Team Lowestrates.Com (Canada)
• Team Haute-Savoie Rhone-Alpes (France)
• Team Furniture Decarte (Switzerland)