The National Cycling Team will be hoping for a podium finish in the 15th Grand Prix International Chantal Biya cycling race that starts today in Yaoundé- Cameroon.
The five-day race, which is listed as a 2.2 race by the International Cycling Union (UCI) will attract over 70 cyclists from 13 teams.
Rwanda is represented by five cyclists including captain Janvier Hadi, Gasore Hategeka, Joseph Alleluya, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana and Joseph Biziyaremye. The team will be coached by Felix Sempoma.
In an exclusive interview with Times Sport before departure on Monday, Hadi said the team is in a great mood and form, adding that the target is finishing top in Cameroon as they look to boost qualification chances for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.
“This race is going to be a bit challenging, especially for debutants like us but we will be out there for the top prize. Considering our recent performance in various competitions, we have qualities of champions and I am confident we can prove it once again,” said the All Africa Games gold medalist.
He further explained that apart from the competition being a good opportunity for Tour du Rwanda preparations, riders will also be looking to earn points for 2016 Olympics qualification.
In a telephone interview from Cameroon, Sempoma revealed that they will be racing in very hot, mostly flat and fairly windy conditions and that the team spent the whole of Tuesday acclimatizing to the place.
According to media reports, Cameroonian cycling federation president Honoré Yossi and his entire team expect this year’s meet to be more competitive and well organized than the last 14 years of the edition.
Apart from Rwanda, there will be other African national teams such as Morocco, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and two from Cameroon. There will also be four European teams including two from France, one from Slovakia and Switzerland respectively.
Prologue: Douala – Douala
Stage 1: Douala – Douala
Stage 2: Yaoundé – Ebolowa 150km
Stage 3: Zoétélé – Meyomessala 139km
Stage 4: Sangmelima – Yaoundé 150km