PROFESSIONAL RIDER Adrien Niyonshuti will not participate in next month’s Tour du Rwanda. The celebrated rider will instead be featuring for his club in the World Series which are underway in Italy.
“It’s true I will not be part of the Tour du Rwanda because of my club’s engagements in different competitions here in Italy. I would have loved to represent my country in the tour since I am in good shape but it will not be possible,” Niyonshuti explained.
Early this week, Rwanda Cycling Federation, (Ferwacy) named a 17-man team to represent Rwanda at this year’s Tour du Rwanda cycling race, which is scheduled to run from November 16-23.
However, Niyonshuti was not included on the squad pending confirmation from his club, MTN Qhubeka, following an official request from Rwanda Cycling Federation asking for the rider to be around for the Tour.
Last year, Niyonshuti was part of MTN Qhubeka team in Tour du Rwanda and finished ninth overall following his recovery from deep vein thrombosis which he sustained after the 2012 Olympic Games.
With Niyonshuti out of the contest, Rwanda will now rely on local talent to bag honours in the competition.
The team started preparations in Musanze this week with riders set to vie for five slots in each of the three national teams which will represent Rwanda at this year’s edition.
Among 17 players, only 15 riders will make the final squad which will be split in three categories to make up Team Akagera, Team Karisimbi and Team Muhabura with each team comprising of five riders.
Eyes will be on promising riders such as Valens Ndayisenga, Hadi Janvier and Bonaventure Uwizeyimana who have had stints in Canada, Swiss and France in build-up to this year’s Tour.
The 2014 Tour du Rwanda, which became a UCI-Africa race in 2009, will have seven stages and one prologue, and will cover a total distance of 911.6 kilometres.
Sixteen teams have confirmed their participation and they will each be represented by five riders.
The tour is expected to see competitors from South Africa, Kenya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Algeria, Morocco, Cameroon, Gabon, the USA (Novo Nordisk Development Team), France (Haute Savoie) and Germany (Team Bike Aid).
South African Dylan Girdlestone won last year’s Tour du Rwanda while Jean Bosco Nsengimana, who was riding for Team Karisimbi finished sixth overall. Adrien Niyonshuti, riding for South Africa-based MTN-Qhubeka was ninth.