The Rwanda national cycling team has resumed training ahead of a busy 2015 season that will commence with the Tour of Egypt, the first race on the UCI Africa Tour calendar scheduled for January 14-18.
Although they are yet to receive an invitation for the Egypt event, the riders and management have maintained an aura of hard work, determination and consistency as they yearn for more success on the continent.
The riders are also concentrating on mountain bike training ahead of next year’s African mountain biking championships that will be hosted in Musanze in May.
The event is a qualifier for the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil and it is at this same event in February 2011 that Adrien Niyonshuti became the first Rwandan to qualify and compete at the Summer Olympics in London in 2012.
The team training in Musanze includes Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, Janvier Hadi, Joseph Biziyaremye, Bosco Nsengimana, Nathan Byukusenge and his young brother Patrick Byukusenge.
In late January, the focus will turn to preparations for the Africa continental championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa from February 9-15.
Olympian Adrien Niyonshuti and the 2014 Tour du Rwanda winner Valens Ndayisenga will join the team to prepare for the continental championships which will include individual time trial, team time trial and road racing events.
Hadi who won bronze in the men’s elite U-23 event at last year’s Africa continental championships in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt is eyeing more continental success but admits that he is fully aware of the challenge that lies ahead. Boyer acknowledges that the team’s recent success presents good motivation for his riders, “It’s positive and gives us more motivation to do better because the riders know now they can do better and they have the ability. Winning the Tour of Rwanda gave them a significant confidence booster.”
Immediately after the continental championships, Team Rwanda will leave for Gabon to compete in the La Tropicale Amissa Bongo tour from February 16-22.
Last year, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana won a stage at the Gabon event which resulted into him getting an opportunity to ride with Vendée U, the feeder side of Team Europcar in France.
“We have no advantage as the European pros will be there. It is fairly flat which is not our strength. As you saw at the Tour du Rwanda, our guys are climbers and prefer long climbs.
However, we shall be aiming at winning a stage and finishing in the top 10,” explained Boyer.
After a triumphant 2014 season, Team Rwanda Cycling is hoping to get better on the African continent.