TEAM RWANDA cyclists have changed their preparation strategy ahead of the 2015 Tour of Egypt from January 14-18 in Hurghada, a city at the Red Sea coast in Egypt.
The national side starts residential training today and will follow the route towards Kigali in contrast to the customary course from Musanze to Rubavu which is characterised by a hilly terrain and tough climbs.
Team Rwanda will embark on training on a flatter and less hilly route that has windy conditions with humid weather to match the circumstances in Hurghada, which is at an elevation of 14 meters above sea level.
The conditions in Hurghada will predominantly include windy and humid weather that is strange to the Rwandan riders who are primarily climbers and according to Team Rwanda head coach Jonathan ‘Jock’ Boyer, this competition will test their ability to race under other circumstances.
Janvier Hadi, bronze medallist in the U-23 category at the 2014 Africa continental cycling championships in Sharm el Sheikh, another city at sea level understands the dynamics of competing in Egypt and has revealed that he believes in Boyer’s training programme that will uncover every secret about competing in the North African country.
Hadi who is excited to be back in training told Times Sport that, “We have been following a training programme during the festive season we spent with families but now we are coming together to work as a team and we hope that we can perform well in Egypt. Our aim is to be the best although it will not be easy.”
The 22-year-old, a back-to-back winner of the prologue stage at the Tour du Rwanda in 2013 and 2014 has mastered the art of individual time trial events and last year was named the Most Aggressive Rider at Stage 4 of the Tour of Alberta while racing as a guest rider for Garneau Quebecor in Canada.
His ability to withstand the challenges of riding in the desert wind will come in handy as he narrates the race tactics to teammates Valens Ndayisenga, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, Joseph Biziyaremye, Patrick Byukusenge and Emile Bintunimana.
The last time Rwanda competed at the Tour of Egypt was in 2009 and the participants from back then have since retired including current Team Rwanda mechanic Jean de Dieu ‘Rafiki’ Uwimana.
Uwimana has already shared some tactics with the riders and explained that, “It is a very long flat stretch that has too much wind all the time. It also gets hot so it is difficult.”
Riders like Ndayisenga who trained at the World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland and Uwizeyimana who was riding for Vendee U, the feeder team of Europcar last year are able to better their descending and ability to withstand windy conditions.