Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY) president Aimable Bayingana has refuted recent claims by cyclist Janvier Hadi that the federation’s attitude toward him had “alienated him” and that left him “feeling unwanted,” which led to his premature retirement.
The 25-year-old former national team star rider shocked the nation on September 20 when he announced his retirement from the sport, two months after returning from Germany where he had arrived three months earlier to join Stradalli–Bike Aid team.
While confirming his retirement, the Rubavu-born cyclist, said that he took the decision following what he called “dishonest treatment” from FERWACY.
But speaking to Times Sport on Wednesday in an exclusive interview, Bayingana called the accusations ‘baseless’ explaining that the federation does not give preferential treatment to any player. Bayingana instead blamed Hadi for failing to abide by his contract with Bike Aid.
“There is no truth whatsoever in what he said, if he had any issue with the federation as a professional player, he would have first addressed it to the officials, but he did not and we also heard about his retirement from the media just as his club Bike Aid did,” said Bayingana.
The reigning African road race champion (winner of 2015 All African Games) had claimed that he had been dropped from the national team since January yet his Bike Aid teammate Jean Bosco Nsengimana was allowed to continue with the national team.
Hadi was also not happy with the way he was stripped of a chance to represent the country at the 2016 Olympic Games road race in favour of Adrien Niyonshuti.
On this issue, Bayingana said, “We have explained this several times, in cycling it is a country that qualifies and not an individual, so sending Niyonshuti to the Olympics was a tactical decision.”
“As for the national team, again we agreed with Bike Aid to give us Nsengimana to help us in Colombia race which is a mountainous race yet Hadi is a road racer.”
“In any case, if he thought that he was being mistreated, he is a professional and would have acted professionally but not deserting his club. Bike Aid can now sue him if they wanted, for violating the contract terms,” explained the official.
Bayingana however, admitted that, “Hadi’s retirement is a great loss to us coming from a person who should be a role model to others but we will work with the disciplined and hardworking cyclists.”