The 2018 Tour du Rwanda stages
Stage 1: Rwamagana – Rwamagana (104km)
Stage 2: Kigali – Huye (120.3km)
Stage 3: Huye – Musanze (195.3km)
Stage 4: Musanze – Karongi (135.8km)
Stage 5: Karongi – Rubavu (95.1km)
Stage 6: Rubavu – Kinigi (Volcanoes National Park) 108.5km
Stage 7: Musanze – Kigali (107.4km)
Stage 8: Kigali – Kigali (82.2km)
For the first time since it became part of the UCI Africa Tour, the 10th Tour du Rwanda will start outside Kigali. It also won’t be starting with a prologue as has previously been the tradition.
The 2018 edition of Tour du Rwanda – scheduled for August 5-12 – will rather start with a gruesome circuit in Rwamagana town, known as the home of Rwanda’s cycling elites.
Of the eight stages comprising this year’s race, five stages are new on the roadmap.
This was confirmed by Rwanda Cycling Federation (Ferwacy) on Wednesday afternoon in a press conference at Classic Hotel in Kigali, which was mainly organized to officially unveil the route as well as the teams that will participate in this year’s edition.
This year’s event will cover a record 948.6 kilometers, an elevation of 19.455 meters and a total of 31 climbs.
Stage one, which is part of the five new stages, will be a 104-kilometre circuit around Rwamagana town, giving an opportunity to sprinters to shine as it has only one climb.
According to Olivier Grandjean, the chief coordinator of Tour du Rwanda, the motive to start this year’s edition in Rwamagana is to give credit to this place that has over the years produced some of the most successful cycling for the country.
“The reason as to why we decided to start this year’s edition in Rwamagana is mainly because this is one of the places that have produced the most successful riders in the country,” Grandjean told members of the press on Wednesday.
The riders that hail from Rwamagana include Adrien Niyonshuti, the first Rwandan rider to turn professional, Valens Ndayisenga two-time Tour du Rwanda winner as well as mighty Joseph Areruya, the reigning champion for both Tour du Rwanda and La Tropicale Amissa Bongo.
The other new stages on the race include; Stage 3 (Huye - Musanze) – the longest stage since the inception of Tour du Rwanda in 2009 – with a total 195.3 kilometres and four grueling climbs.
Others are; Stage 4 that will set off from Musanze heading to Karongi, 135.8 Kilometres, through Rutsiro district for a historic first time and Stage 5, from Karongi to Rubavu on a 95-kilometre ride.
The final stage in Kigali has also come with a whole new itinerary – flagging off at Amahoro national stadium in a circuit race in the Rwandan capital and climbing the famous cobbled wall of Kigali twice before completing the 82.2 kilometers at Kigali Stadium in Nyamirambo.
“Like we have always done, the reason for the new stages is to bring cycling closer to Rwandans, especially in areas that have not had a chance to witness the race in the past,” Aimable Bayingana, Ferwacy president, said while unveiling the roadmap.
Meanwhile, a total 16 teams have confirmed to take part in this year’s edition which will be last 2.2 race category of Tour du Rwanda before the upgrade to 2.1 – effective 2019.
Rwanda will be represented by three teams led by the national team (Team Rwanda) plus Club Benediction and Les Amis Sportifs de Rwamagana.
At this year’s race, there will be six new entrants, including; Algeria’s UCI Continental Team Groupement Sportif Petrolier led Azzedine Lagab, Angola’s Bai Sicasal, Marc Pro Gym One of the United States, German side Team Embrace the World, South Africa’s Team Sampada as well as France’s Pays des Olonnes Cycliste Côte de Lumière.
According to organizers, this year’s edition will have a budget of nearly Rwf 500million.
Full 16-team list for the 2018 Tour du Rwanda
Team Rwanda, Club Benediction and Les Amis Sportifs (both Rwanda), GSP Algeria, Team Sampada (South Africa), Kenyan Riders Safaricom (Kenya), Bai Sicasal-Perol de Luanda (Angola), South Africa, Eritra, Ethiopia and Swiss side Team Loup Suisse Romandie.
Others are;Marc Pro Gym One cycling team (USA), Team Haute-Savoie Rhone-Alpes and Pays des Olonnes Cycliste Côte de Lumière (France) and Germany’s Team Embrace the World.
Yellow jersey: MINISPOC
Best Rwandan: RDB
Stage Winner: Skol
Best Climber: Cogebanque
Best African rider: RwandAir
Most aggressive rider: Rwanda tea
Young rider: Prime Insurance
Intermediate Sprints: Societe Petroliere Ltd (SP)
Team Classification: Inyange