It was a bad start for team Rwanda at the 2016 Rio Olympics games as Adrien Niyonshuti, the Team Rwanda captain failed to finish the cycling-road race on Saturday. The 29-year-old cyclist was the first Rwandan athlete to go into action in the men’s cycling road race, but his bid to make history ended prematurely after he failed to finish the 236km competition, which was won by Belgian Greg van Avermaet, who clocked 6:19:05.
Niyonshuti blamed mechanical hitches for the failure to complete the gruelling race.
“I had trained with my bike before the competition and it was in a very good condition, but after just a few kilometres into the race, it just could not move and I had to change to another one, which was not of the same type like the one I had, and after 50km I had a puncture and crashed, hence bowing out,” Niyonshuti told Times Sport.
The two-time Olympian added that, “Of course I am disappointed that I haven’t been able to finish the race, which was my first priority. But now that I am done with my race, I will have to support my teammates, who have not competed yet.”
The Rio cycling road race attracted a total of 144 cyclists, however; only 63 managed to finish.
Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang took silver and Poland’s Rafal Majka bagged a bronze as Geraint Thomas, Vincenzo Nibali, Sergio Henao and Richie Porte all fell on a downhill section of what is being described as the toughest road race course in the history of the Olympic Games.
Meanwhile, in swimming, Joannah Umurungi also failed to make the cut in the women’s 100m butterfly heats after finishing 44th out of 45 competitors, using 1:11:92. She only finished ahead of Nada Mohammed Arakji from Qatar, who clocked 1:18.86.
Niyonshuti and full marathon runner, Claudette Mukasakindi are the only Rwandan athletes with Olympics experience after debuting at the 2012 London Games.
The others, including; swimmers Umurungi and Eloi Imaniraguha, Mt. biking cyclist Nathan Byukusenge, Ambroise Uwiragiye (men marathon) and Salome Nyirarunkundo, are all making their debut.