Niyonshuti signs for South Africa’s Sampada Cycling Team


Niyonshuti with Jim Songezo whom they together in Dimension Data before they both joined Sampada Cycling Team. / Courtesy

Rwanda’s former Dimension Data for Qhubekha rider Adrien Niyonshuti is delighted after signing with a South African amateur team Sampada Cycling Team.

Niyonshuti, 31, raced for the South African team for nine seasons as it progressed from the UCI Continental to Pro Continental and finally World Tour status and runner has thus found himself on foot, failing to get a proposal from international teams.

“I am happy to get a team. I will keep working hard to help the team and the young riders. It was not easy to stay home without having team but now I can ride and compete again,” Niyonshuti said.

Niyonshuti is one of the pioneers of modern Rwandan cycling, having been the first and so far only professional runner from Rwanda.

Since 2009, the Rwamagana native has been part of the Dimension Data Team’s roster, but in the last market session, he was not offered a new contract.

The former Team Rwanda rider further noted that, “I am happy that I have rode for Africa’s biggest team for almost nine seasons. It has been pressure to share memorial with big names. I am looking forward for new chapter.”

The five-time Rwanda national champion, Niyonshuti, in 2006 connected with Americans; Tom Ritchey and Jonathan ‘Jock’ Boyer, whose non-profit ‘Project Rwanda’ worked to create the country’s first national cycling team (Team Rwanda Cycling).

Niyonshuti won Tour du Rwanda in 2008, a year before the competition became part of UCI-Africa Tour race. He also won the national road race title from 2010-12, in addition to the national time trial championships in 2016 and 2017.

In 2009 former Team Rwanda coach Boyer helped Niyonshuti gain a spot on Ryder’s UCI Continental team, then called MTN-Energade.