RWANDA INTERNATIONAL rider Samuel Mugisha who rides for South Africa-based Dimension Data for Qhubekha has embarked on early preparations to fulfill his target of winning the tenth edition of the 2018 Tour du Rwanda.
The 2018 edition is scheduled for August 26 to September 2. The 2018 edition was brought forward to allow Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY) enough time to prepare for the up graded 2019 edition to run from February 24 to March 3.
Speaking to this paper, Mugisha said he will go into this year’s edition hoping to stage triumphant performances on his third attempt to win the Tour du Rwanda title.
The 20-year-old was named best climber of 2016 Tour du Rwanda, which was won by Valens Ndayisenga while last year, Mugisha also won the Tour du Rwanda preparatory180-km race from Nyanza to Rubavu-the longest stage of 2017 Rwanda Cycling Cup.
Last Saturday, he won the final race of Rwanda Cycling Cup from Gatuna to Kigali which covered 108.4km.
“I really want to win the next Tour du Rwanda. I know it will be tougher than before, but I am determined to do it, and I feel strong and fit to keep growing in my game. We have many competitions ahead of us and I want to start better,” Mugisha said.
Mugisha added that he started preparations last year and will keep doing the same in the New Year.
“I’m really positive, but if I have to work even harder than before. I will keep doing my best of helping my team and my teammates to be at the top,” the former Benediction rider noted.
Rwanda’s Valens Ndayisenga, currently with Austria’s Tirol Cycling Team, is the reigning champion, while Jean Bosco Nsengimana won the 2015 Tour du Rwanda edition. Last year’s edition was won by Dimension Data rider, Joseph Areruya.
FERWACY plans to turn the 2.2 Tour du Rwanda into a 2.1 road race by 2019.
To meet the rigorous UCI requirements and regulations for the race to be considered a 2.1 race category, FERWACY have to change the timing of the competition to enable pro-teams to participate, and increase the prize money.
During last year’s edition, the total prize money was US$23,860 (about Rwf19.7 million) and it has to increase at least five-fold in 2019.
However, FERWACY has assured that everything is on course to ensure that 2019 ushers in a new era for the Rwandan cycling flagship race.
Tour du Rwanda became part of Africa UCI in 2009 and it has since grown by leaps and bounds, attracting over 450 riders from across the world.