* Cyclists to cover 911.6km over 8 days
* 70 cyclists to tussle for converted yellow jersey
* Tour to cost Rwf400m
THE sixth edition of the Tour du Rwanda paces off this morning with a 3.5km prologue race where riders will go round Amahoro Stadium.
Emmanuel Murenzi, the Executive Secretary of the National Cycling Federation told this paper yesterday that all teams had arrived for the event however last year’s winner Dylan Girdlestone didn’t come for the race.
“All fourteen teams are in the country. Everything is in place ahead of the prologue on Sunday (today). Our three teams are physically and psychologically well prepared, we are hoping for the best,” Murenzi said.
Rwandan cyclists will face stiff challenge from Africa’s top cyclists like Mouhssine Lahsaini from Morocco and Eritrea’s Mekseb Debesay and Eyob Metkel among others.
For the first time, the race will stretch to the districts of Ngoma and Nyanza. The tour du Rwanda will cover seven stages including the new routes of Kigali to Ngoma District (94 kilometers) and Rubavu to Nyanza district, which is the most grueling route covering 173km.
Following the addition of the two new routes, Tour of Rwanda total distance has risen from 805km to 911.6km.
The Tour of Rwanda, which is organized by Rwanda Cycling Federation, was first held in 1988 before it became part of the UCI Africa Tour category 2.2 five years ago.
Last year’s edition was won by South Africa after Dylan Girdlestone while Rwanda’s Valens Ndayisenga won the most promising rider accolade following his 11th place finish.
The 19-year-old made history by becoming the youngest Rwandan to win a stage in the Tour of Rwanda when he won the stage two, which was the most grueling stage (151.9km) from Rwamagana-Musanze.