Team Rwanda riders yesterday left for South Africa with Tour du Rwanda winner Valens Ndayisenga keen on conquering the continent in the Africa cycling championships that runs from February 9-15 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
“Cycling is a team sport, so although I want to finish in the top 3, I will be counting on my teammates for support,” the 20-year-old said.
Rwanda won one medal in the U23 category last year after Hadi Janvier finished in third position. It will be the seventh time Rwanda is competing in the continental competition.
Rwanda will be represented by ten riders including South African based pro cyclist Adrien Niyonshuti.
Niyonshuti has been training with his team-MTN Qhubekha in Italy and also competed in the Majorque cycling race in Spain last month.
Two Rwandan riders, 17-year-old Samuel Mugisha and Jean d’Arc Girubuntu will be making their debut in the junior and women categories respectively. The duo has spent more than two months training at the International Cycling Union (UCI) training Center in South Africa.
Rwanda is currently ranked second in Africa behind Morocco in the world cycling rankings. Eritrea is 3rd, South Africa is 4th while Algeria is 5th.
Team (Elite men): Adrien Niyonshuti (Mtn-Qhubeka), Valens Ndayisenga, Hadi Janvier, Joseph Biziyaremye, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, Patrick Byukusenge, Jean Bosco Nsengimana and Emile Bintunimana
Junior: Samuel Mugisha
Elite women: Jeanne D’Arc Girubuntu.