Chris Froome’s recent statement confirming his participation at the much-anticipated Tour du Rwanda 2023 has left everyone talking about the race which is just a month from kick off. The four-time Tour de France champion will be riding for Israel Premier Tech ahead of the 14th edition of the race slated for February 19-26. The Israeli cycling team is one of 20 teams from across the globe that confirmed their participation at the race where the former Team Sky rider will be looking to add the Rwandan race to his medal cabinet. Freddy Kamuzinzi, the race director, said that having the experienced rider at Tour du Rwanda not only shows how far the race has gone but also an opportunity for Rwanda, African riders and those from the rest of the world to test their cycling level against a world-class rider of the Briton’s caliber. “Froome’s presence in Tour du Rwanda is a statement of trust that he has for the race because an athlete of his level does not necessarily go to any race. We have very few cycling competitions, in Africa, of Tour du Rwanda caliber and it’s very important for us in Rwanda to host such an athlete,” Kamuzinzi said. “He’s among ‘crème de la crème’ riders and this will help our very own riders to make self-assessment on where they stand and learn some skills from him while riding at such a competition,” he added. And, he said, it’s not just an opportunity for only African riders because, trust me, even others from Europe, America and elsewhere.... not all of them have got the chance to ride with Chris Froome. “So, I am very sure that it is also a challenge for them, they could be excited to say ‘Hey, let’s challenge him and see if we have the capacity to eat him. I think it’s Chris’ pedigree for everyone to beat,” he noted. From the country’s tourism perspective, Kamuzinzi is confined. Froome's personality would be of importance for not just Tour du Rwanda but also the country in general in terms of visibility at the international scene which he said would have a positive impact in boosting the country’s tourism. “For the last months, we received a number of international athletes from football, basketball and Co. and Chris Froome is a very big athlete in the cycling world. So having him in Rwanda also has to do with showcasing our country. It’s important to have such an athlete whose comments on the country and race perspective can attract the world’s attention and tempt them to visit Rwanda,” he noted. Froome confirms his participation at Tour du Rwanda after a series of failed attempts to take part in the race due to either the fact that the pandemic didn’t make him comfortable to participate or because he was taking part at other races. “He was always willing to come to participate in Rwanda but the pandemic was a challenge on one hand while, on the other hand, the team took him to other races. We are now excited to finally have him and we hope he is going to open doors for other world-class cycling stars to compete at our race,” said Abdallah Murenzi, the president of Rwanda Cycling Federation. During his stay, Froome is also expected to visit and examine the progress of the construction project of an ultra-modern cycling academy in Bugesera District, Eastern Province. He and his Israel-Premier Tech Cycling team has been mobilizing funds in excess of Euro 300,000 (Approx Rwf320 million) to build the cycling academy whose first of the three projected phases was completed in December last year.