Rwandans and cycling enthusiasts across Africa will have their eyes turned on how Team Rwanda will fare at La Tropicale Amissa Bongo is back on the UCI calendar after two seasons of absence due to the global pandemic. The 16th edition kicks off Monday with teams, including Team Rwanda, departing the Northern of Gabon between Bitam and Oyem for the opening stage which covers a distance of 121,5 KM before racing through five of the country's seven provinces until the final finish Sunday in Libreville. Joseph Areruya, who won the race in 2018, and Moïse Mugisha, the winner of Tour du Cameroun 2022, are among the six riders who will represent Rwanda in Gabon. They will be vying for nothing but finishing the race victorious as they seek to test themselves against Africa elite riders before Tour du Rwanda 2023. Another Rwandan to watch is Adrien Niyonshuti who is in Gabon as the head coach of Team Benin, becoming the first Rwandan to coach a foreign team at the La Tropicale Amissa Bongo. The Gabonese race becomes the first test for the former Rwandan international rider just five days after he was appointed as head coach of the Benin cycling national team for the 2023 season. After fifteen years of existence, La Tropicale has become a reference in Africa, the oldest race on the continent to be classified in the first UCI category since its inception. Several riders who have won the biggest races on the world calendar have taken part in the Tropicale Amissa Bongo. Some notable figures include Thomas Voeckler, Pierre Rolland, Sylvain Chavanel and Linus Gerdemann who all won Yellow jerseys at Tour de France, Luis Leon Sanchez, and André Greipel who won stage at the French grand tour and Giro d'Italia stage winners Nacer Bouhanni, Andrea Vendrame, Biniam Girmay. Others include David Moncoutié who won a stage at the Vuelta Espana, Frédéric Guesdon who won the Paris-Roubaix race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner Dan Martin among others. Five professional teams will be competing in this 16th edition, three from ProTeams - the French TotalEnergies, the Belgians from Bingoal-WB, the Spanish from Burgos-BH, two from Continental category, the Turks from Beykoz and the American development team from World Tour EF Education. They will be up against the ten best African national teams, including Eritrea, Rwanda, Morocco, Algeria and Cameroon. It is a short stage, without much difficulty all along the road, until the final where the runners will have to cross the hump of the presidential residence three times. The sprinters will have to hang on to pass it with the punchers in these streets of Oyem where the spectators are always very numerous, creating a festive atmosphere.