Rwanda’s top female cyclist, Jeanne d’Arc Girubuntu has received an invitation to attend a three-month training session at the World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland from April-June.
The two-time national champion will obtain high level training from WCC head coach John Jacques Henry and will train alongside elite women from across the world.
Speaking exclusively to Times Sport, Girubuntu said, “I am very excited about this opportunity. Indeed it is a life changing chance that I thank God for. I hope to learn a lot about cycling and the skills I will attain will help me to be a great cyclist.”
The 18-year-old attended a month-long training at the World Cycling Centre in Potchefstroom, South Africa in January ahead of the Africa continental championships last month.
She finished sixth in the women’s individual time trial at the Africa continental championships, three minutes behind winner Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, an Olympian who rides for Bigla Pro Cycling team in Switzerland.
Team Rwanda’s head of marketing and logistics Kimberly Coats, herself a former cyclist said, “Jeanne d’Arc is a pioneer. She will be the first Rwandan female to train at the World Cycling Centre. It will open doors for women’s cycling in Rwanda. She is a talented rider who has a lot of strength and passion. She is definitely going to learn a lot in Switzerland.”
Girubuntu, who perfected her cycling at the Adrien Niyonshuti Cycling Academy in her hometown of Rwamagana under the tutelage of veteran coach John Rugamba, is one of the emerging female cyclists in Rwanda who are determined to ride professionally despite the absence of many competitions in the region and on the continent.
According to Coats, Girubuntu will be able to compete in some races in Europe and that will give her a lot of race experience. “She will get to improve her diet and has to lose up to 4kg as that will help her be faster going uphill.”
Ndayisenga, who attended this program last year, will also be in Switzerland at the same time for a second time following his victory at last year’s Tour du Rwanda where he became the first Rwandan to win the week-long event since its inception on the UCI Africa Tour in 2009.