Team Rwanda head coach Jonathan Boyer has expressed his optimism ahead of the 2014 La Tropicale Amissa Bongo International Cycling Tour which wheels off today and ends on January 19 in Gabon.
The American trainer told this newspaper before the team’s departure on Saturday, that his riders have had enough preparations for the first UCI Africa Tour championship of the season.
The six-man team was announced by Boyer on Wednesday and former Tour de France rider said, “We need to give our best in this competition, and I am quite positive that the boys will do a good job.”
The team includes; Rwanda’s national champion Gasore Hategeka (26-years old), Joseph Biziyaremye (25), Valens Ndayisenga (19), South Africa-based Janvier Hadi (22), Jean Bosco Nsengiyumva (22) and Bonaventure Uwizeyinama (21).
“We’re taking a team which has been doing well, last year they were amazing and they’re slowly become top class riders,” Boyer told Sunday Sport.
He, however admitted, “It’s going to be a tough competition because it has top good riders from across Africa and beyond, but I have urged the guys (Team Rwanda riders) to be positive and they have to give all they can.”
Team Rwanda will be making its fourth appearance at the annual competition and hope to better their performances in the previous editions.
“The riders have been training under good conditions at our training camp (in Musanze) and they are responding well to our tactics. Hopefully, they will perform better than in the previous editions,” he noted.
Last year, Team Rwanda finished seventh out of 15 teams but clinched third place in African teams behind Eritrea and Morocco. Team Rwanda will join eight other African national teams and six professional teams in the Seven-Stage-991km event.
Apart from Rwanda other African teams include; Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Morocco, Burkina Faso, Namibia and hosts Gabon.
The professional teams include; Europcar (France), Cofidis (France), MTN-Qhubeka (South Africa), Velo-Club (Algeria), Wanty-Groupe Gobert (Belgium) and Caja Rural-Seguros SGA (Spain).