After clinching the 2016 Rwanda Cycling Cup title in the men’s U23 category on Saturday, Jean Claude Uwizeye says his next target is to defend his U-23 silver medal or even go a step further at the 2017 African Continental Road Championships that will be held from February 14-19 in Luxor, Egypt.
The Les Amis Sportif de Rwamagana rider collected a total of 136 points from the seven races that comprised the second edition of the annual event—he finished narrowly ahead of his teammate Rene Jean Paul Ukiniwabo, who had 134 points.
Another Amis Sportif rider Joseph Areruya, who recently signed for South Africa-based UCI Continental Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, finished in the third place with 119 points.
Uwizeye also finished second with 138 points in the Men’s Elite category, behind winner Gasore Hategeka of Rubavu-based Club Benediction, who collected a total of 152 points.
Speaking to Times Sport after being crowned U23 category champion, Uwizeye sad that, “I am happy for this trophy, I was actually using this competition to see if I am ready to go to Egypt and improve on my last year’s performance.”
He added that, “I want to perform better this year in all International competitions that I will represent my country and I believe this trophy is a very big motivation.”
Last year, Rwanda made history at the African Continental Championships that was held from February 21-26 in Casablanca, Morocco.
Team Rwanda returned home with a record three medals, including; one gold and two silver medals from the time trial and road race events.
Jeanne d’Arc Girubuntu, the only female rider on the team, claimed silver in the women Individual Time Trial (ITT), the first Rwandan female to win a medal at that level.
This was before 2016 Tour du Rwanda winner, Valens Ndayisenga improved on his bronze-medal performance in 2015 to win the gold medal in the U-23 ITT. This was Rwanda’s first gold medal in the competition.
In the most grueling and last race of the competition, the 180-kilometre men’s elite road race, Rwanda collected another silver medal through Uwizeye, who finished two seconds behind Team Dimension Data’s Gebreigzabhier Amanuel.
Uwizeye finished 7th in last year’s Tour du Rwanda U23 general classification, and is currently training with the national team at Africa Cycling Rising Center in Musanze.