Team Rwanda Cycling (TRC) is set to receive 18 road bikes and eight time trial bikes as promised by President Paul Kagame at a cocktail dinner last December following their historic success at the 2014 Tour du Rwanda.
The bikes will arrive in Kigali tomorrow and will be handed over to the national cycling team next week after customs clearance. In its eight-year existence, this is the first time TRC is receiving such support.
“We have never had this support before, we would have never been able to afford bikes like these, so it is both an equipment upgrade and a boost to our morale that we will be riding bikes with the President’s “stamp” on them,” said the grateful Jonathan ‘Jock’ Boyer, head coach of Team Rwanda.
It’s a similar type of bikes that were used by British side, Team Sky to race to the 2012 and 2013 Tour de France wins with Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome each winning the yellow jersey in the respective years. In the past three years, these bikes have won the Tour de France twice, the World Championship and more than 100 Pro Tour races.
According to the TRC head of marketing and logistics, Kimberly Coats, “These bikes are the best of the best. We shall have full Time Trial (TT) bikes for races on the UCI Africa Tour.”
Only Valens Ndayisenga and Janvier Hadi used TT bikes and finished first and third at the prologue stage of the Tour of Egypt in Hurghada). We could have probably had the whole team in the top 15 if everyone was on TT bikes.”
According to Coats, they will be specially painted in the colours of the Rwandan flag with a special Presidential insignia showing they were a gift from the President. She said, “Everyone will know the Team Rwanda bike.”
Team Rwanda has competed in five races on the UCI Africa Tour including the Tour of Egypt in January before heading for the Africa continental championships in South Africa and the La Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon in February.
They also competed at the one-month long Grand Tour d’Algerie and Tour of Cameroon picking up to 20 podium finishes in all of them.