Rwanda Cycling Federation president Aimable Bayingana is positive that Team Rwanda will retain the Tour du Rwanda title when the 2015 edition gets underway on November 15 to 22.
Bayingana has hailed Team Rwanda riders for their increased professionalism when competing in major competitions and believes they have accumulated more experience since last year’s edition which was won by Valens Ndayisenga, who was ridding under Team Rwanda Karisimbi.
“They have increased their competition level tremendously and if we consider the way they have competed this year, I would not be wrong to say that we have a good chance of retaining it (Tour du Rwanda title),” he told Times Sport.
He noted that, “In all competitions that they have participated in, they have done really well so I believe they can do it again. It will not be easy but our riders have shown consistence and capacity to compete on high level.”
In addition to the defending champion, Ndayisenga, Team Rwanda will also be looking at Janvier Hadi, who is fresh from winning a gold medal in the men’s 150km road race at the ongoing All-Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville. Team Rwanda also won bronze in the men’s team time trial.
Last year Ndayisenga, 20, became the first Rwandan rider to win the prestigious Tour du Rwanda since it was incorporated on the International Cycling Union (UCI) calendar in 2009.
He clocked 24 hours 57 minutes and 10 seconds en-route to winning the 8-day 933,8km race. He was followed by teammates Jean Bosco Nsengimana in second and Joseph Biziyaremye came in the fourth position.
This year’s race will attract 85 riders, five for each of the 17 teams, a new record for the 2.2 UCI Africa competition. Rwanda will maintain three teams including; Akagera, Karisimbi and Muhabura.
The eight-day event will have two new routes including stage one from Nyagatare to Rwamagana, a total distance of 135km and the biggest cycling event in Rwanda returns to Huye with stage two from Kigali (Nyabugogo) to Huye, a distance of 120km.