Turkish Airlines has partnered with the Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY) to sponsor this year’s Tour du Rwanda for an undisclosed fee and the airline will also give a discount to all participants from across the world.
All foreign teams including riders, coaches, mechanics and federation officials, journalists and organisers will get a 40% discount on air tickets and will be able to have their bikes and equipment airlifted tax free.
Turkish Airlines country manager Burcin Isler told journalists at a press briefing yesterday that, “The Tour du Rwanda is one of the biggest events in Rwanda and when it comes to sports, it is the biggest. We are glad to be a part of this because this is a good opportunity to continue promoting the event.”
Voted as the best European airline for the last four years, Turkish Airlines established a long term relationship with Team Rwanda Cycling (TRC) last November becoming the official airline of the national team with a 40% discount on all their air tickets and a waiver on their luggage including bikes.”
Isler believes that the partnership will attract more teams from abroad and this will definitely be a cheaper way for them to come to Rwanda and participate in the Tour du Rwanda which is ranked as a 2.2 event on the International Cycling Union (UCI) Africa calendar.
“We want this to be a long term partnership and our main goal is to make the Tour bigger and bigger every year. It will be good visibility for us as well and hopefully more can participate,” explained Isler.
FERWACY president Aimable Bayingana expressed joy at the agreement. “This means a lot to Rwandan cycling because it means that Tour du Rwanda is becoming more visible on the international level and it is starting to draw attention of big brands. We are really grateful to Turkish Airlines for coming on board,” Bayingana said.
Turkish Airlines sponsors big sports brands across the world including Manchester United, Barcelona and has Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant, Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney, Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, and tennis star Caroline Wozniacki as brand ambassadors among many others.
Turkish Airlines will also sponsor the ‘Best African rider’ jersey at the Tour du Rwanda and every day, this rider will wear the Turkish Airlines jersey.
Last year, 14 teams including three from Rwanda – Karisimbi, Muhabura and Akagera competed at the annual event with Valens Ndayisenga walking away with the yellow jersey becoming the first Rwandan to win the competition since its inception on the UCI Africa Tour in 2009.
South Africa, Kenya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Algeria, Morocco, Cameroon and Gabon were the teams from Africa while the European teams included Haute Savoie (France), Team Bike Aid (Germany) and Loup Sport (Switzerland).