Suspended Team Rwanda riders return to camp

The Team Rwanda cyclists who went on strike on Saturday over finance-related disagreements have returned to residential camp at the Africa Rising Cycling Center in Musanze.
(L-R) - Nsengimana, Uwizeyimana, Hadi (captain), Byukusenge and Ndayisenga, initially comprised Team Karisimbi. (Courtesy)
(L-R) - Nsengimana, Uwizeyimana, Hadi (captain), Byukusenge and Ndayisenga, initially comprised Team Karisimbi. (Courtesy)

The Team Rwanda cyclists who went on strike on Saturday over finance-related disagreements have returned to residential camp at the Africa Rising Cycling Center in Musanze.

According to the president of the Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY), Aimable Bayingana, the suspended riders apologized for their actions, leading to the lifting of their suspension.

The suspension was issued after the riders disagreed over compensation and declined to negotiate with sports officials.

They were then given 48 hours to apologize and on Monday evening, following lengthy discussions, all  the suspended riders tendered their formal apologies, bringing to end the standoff.

The riders were also cautioned against holding the federation at ransom and it was agreed that any disagreements should be solved through dialogue.

Six riders, including the reigning Rwanda Cycling Cup winner Jean Bosco Nsengimana, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, Joseph Areruya, Ephrem Tuyishimire, Emile Bintunimana and Jean Claude Uwizeye were the first to return to the camp earlier yesterday. They joined Nathan Byukusenge and Jeremie Karegeya, who declined to be part of the protest. 

A meeting that was called in the evening became fruitful after the remaining cyclists agreed to also return to the camp. These included the reigning Tour du Rwanda champion Valens Ndayisenga, All Africa Games gold medalist Janvier Hadi, veteran Abraham Ruhumuriza, reigning national champion Joseph Biziyaremye, Gasore Hategeka, Patrick Byukusenge, Camera Hakuzimana and Aime Mupenzi.

On Saturday, 14 riders left the Africa Rising Cycling Center in Musanze after their attempt to ask for $3,000 before competing in the Tour du Rwanda was declined by Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY).

FERWACY had suspended the ringleaders Hadi, Ruhumuriza and Ndayisenga and given them 48 hours to apologize in writing, but when the other riders saw this, they decided to leave camp in solidarity with the trio.

This is not the first time that the national cycling team is striking over money. It happened in 2011 and last year.

Cycling is one of the fast developing sports in the country with many young men looking to joining professional cycling, a field that is becoming more lucrative by the day.

This year’s Tour du Rwanda is scheduled for November 15-22 with the race  expected to attract 14 other teams from the rest of Africa, Europe, Australia and USA. 

 

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