Five-time Tour of Rwanda winner Abraham Ruhumuriza has announced he will retire from competitive cycling at the end of 2014, ending a 15-year career of Rwanda’s cycling greats.
Born on 28 July 1977, in Gisagara (now Huye District) in the Southern Province, Ruhumuriza started racing in 1999, and has gone on to become the country’s most famous cyclist, only losing that prestigious tag a couple of years ago to Adrien Niyonshuti, who is now based in South Africa.
“Yes, I am planning to retire this year, I enjoyed this sport for a long time, but I think it’s about time for me to quit. Riding is all I have wanted to do and I think I have achieved all I wanted in my career,” the 36-year old told Sunday Sport on Friday.
He added, “I don’t expect to continue to ride after this year. I will see what to do next but of course working on with younger riders and help to develop them it will be one of my priorities.”
“I am talking to the (Team Rwanda) coach Jonathan Boyer and the chairman of Rwanda Cycling Federation to see how I can help the younger riders. I will continue to be involved in developing our cycling,” noted the veteran Cine Elmay Club of Huye and Team Rwanda rider.
Ruhumuriza started cycling as a means of earning income, while transporting people in his home area in Gisagara. He purchase his first 10-speed bike with the help of a friend. He was introduced to professional racing by a family friend.
In 1999, he began racing on a professional speed bike and has developed into the most experienced rider in the country. He says that his passion for cycling is based on the fact that it is his only opportunity to provide for his family.
The father of four noted, “I have achieved what I wanted in cycling and I am happy to reach this level and I want to give chance to the younger guys. I will always be happy to help them to reach far in their career.”
Ruhumuriza has won the Tour of Rwanda, the country’s most prestigious race, a record five times, having dominated the competition between 2002 and 2005—his last win coming back in 2007, two years before it was added on the UCI-Africa Tour in 2009. The last home rider to win Tour of Rwanda was Adrien Niyonshuti in 2008. Niyonshuti currently rides for South Africa’s professional team MTN-Qhubeka.
In addition to the Tour of Rwanda titles, Ruhumuriza has competed in a sizeable number of major competitions on the African continent.
He finished 11th in the 2011 Tour of Cameroon, African Continental Championships / November 2010 finished 9th in Team Time Trial, Commonwealth Games / India / October 2010, finished 35th in Road Race.
He won the Kwita Izina race in 2010, Tour of Cameroon / February 2010 won 2 stages and finished 7th in General Classification, Tour of Amissa Bongo / Gabon / January 2010 finished 17th in General Classification, (4th best African).Won the Tour of Kigali City in 2009 and Finished 5th in 2009 Tour of Rwanda.