Tour du Rwanda stages:
Prologue, November 15: Kigali-Kigali (3, 5 km)
Stage 1, November 16: Nyagatare-Rwamagana (135km)
Stage 2, November 17: Kigali-Huye (120km)
Stage 3, November 18: Kigali-Musanze (95km)
Stage 4, November 19: Musanze-Nyanza (160km)
Stage 5, November 20: Muhanga-Rubavu (140km)
Stage 6, November 21: Rubavu-Kigali (165km)
Stage 7, November 22: Kigali-Kigali (120km)
Reigning Tour du Rwanda champion Valens Ndayisenga is confident of successfully defending his title when the 2015 race gets underway on November 15 to 22.
Ndayisenga was the first Rwandan to win the Tour du Rwanda since it was named on the 2.2 UCI Africa competitions in 2009. He says that he is in good shape and looking forward to the race with great optimism.
“I am in better shape, (physically and mentally) than ever before, and I’m looking forward to defending my title. It is going to be very difficult but as a team, we are ready to give our best as we did last year,” the 21-year old told Times Sport, after the preparatory race for 2015 Tour du Rwanda on Sunday.
He added that, “For us we compete like a team, so if someone is doing better, we all support and defend him, which is why we are going to do our best to work as a unit throughout. It was difficult to win it for the first time, but now we know what to do because we’re more experienced.”
The first day of the two-day preparatory race for the 2015 Tour du Rwanda from Nyagatare to Rwamagana (135 kilometres) on Saturday was won by Benediction Club rider Emile Bintunimana after clocking 3 hours, 8 minutes and 48 seconds. Ndayisenga came in second position with 3h 9’25”.
Day two was dominated by Jean Bosco Nsengimana, also of Benediction Club, after he clocked 5 hours, 9 minutes and 41 seconds from Rwamagana to Huye, a distance of 179 kilometres.
Patrick Byukusenge finished second with 5 hours, 12 minutes and 30 seconds while Ndayisenga came in fifth place with 5h12’48”.
“Everything is going according to plan in the training and I feel in top shape. We still have a couple of weeks to make sure that we are in the best possible shape to defend our title,” the Tour du Rwanda champion explained.
Ndayisenga believes that, in himself, Janvier Hadi, who won a gold medal in the men’s 150km road race at the All-Africa Games in Congo Brazzaville last month, Jean Bosco Nsengimana, Joseph Biziyaremye and Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, who finished behind Ndayisenga last year, Team Rwanda has a good enough chance to do even better than last year.
In last year’s edition, the Amis Sportif rider, Ndayisenga clocked 24 hours 57 minutes and 10 seconds en-route to winning the 8-day 933,8km race.
Two new routes
This year’s race will have two new routes including opening stage from Nyagatare to Rwamagana, a total distance of 135km and stage two from Kigali (Nyabugogo) to Huye, a distance of 120km.
It will have six professional teams, among them; four European-based, namely; Bike Aid (Germany), Team Loup Sport (Switzerland), Global Cycling Team (Netherlands), Haute-Savoie Rhone-Alpes (France), debutants Scoddy Downunder from Australia and Novo Nordisk Development from the USA.
There will also be eight Africa national teams including; Algeria, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Morocco and South Africa.
The seven-stage Tour du Rwanda, which is sponsored by Cogebanque, Ministry of Sports and Culture, Rwandair and Skol, will attract 85 riders, five for each of the 17 teams. Rwanda will maintain three teams including; Akagera, Karisimbi and Muhabura.