TEAM Karisimbi’s Janvier Hadi yesterday won the prologue of this year’s Tour du Rwanda after using 4 minutes, 4 seconds and 46 micro seconds in the 3.5km race around Amahoro National Stadium.
An excited Hadi promised to give his best in this year’s competition and attributed the prologue win to rigorous training and support from teammates and staff at the Africa rising cycling centre in Musanze.
“I am happy that I have started the competition winning and I will do everything to maintain that. We trained a lot for this race and I am thankful to my team mates and staff who challenge us to be winners,” the 23 year old said.
Team Karisimbi showed their rivals what is likely to follow in the next seven days as they swept the first 4 positions. Valens Ndayisenga finished in second place behind Hadi, while Jean Bosco Nsengimana and Bonaventure Uwizeyimana came in third and fourth positions, respectively.
Hadi will start today’s stage one from Kigali to Ngoma (96.4km) wearing the yellow Jersey. Yesterday’s triumph earned him $600 (0.4m). The cycling federation gives a cash prize to any local cyclists who finishes ahead of his teammates to encourage competition among the local riders.
20 year old Valens Ndayisenga won the best young rider award which carries a prize of US$300 (Rwf0.2m) while Jean Bosco Nsengimana walked away with Rwf0.2m for being the best climber.
Huge crowds braved the scorching sun to cheer on local riders. 70 cyclists from 14 teams are taking part in the competition.
Team Rwanda Karisimbi won the prologue in the team category after five of its riders came in the top six positions.
This year’s Tour du Rwanda has a total distance of 911.6km after the addition of two new routes.
The Tour du Rwanda, which is organised by Rwanda Cycling Federation, was first held in 1988 before it became part of the UCI Africa Tour du Rwanda category 2.2 five years ago.
Last year’s edition was won by South African after Dylan Girdlestone while Rwanda’s Valens Ndayisenga won the most promising rider accolade following his 11th place finish.