Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY) president Aimable Bayingana has lauded local clubs – Les Amis Sportifs de Rwamangana and Club Benediction de Rubavu – following their impressive debut at the Tour du Rwanda.
The two teams were among the 15 teams that graced this year’s edition. The two participated alongside the national team.
Previously, the country was represented by three national teams – Akagera, Karisimbi and Muhabura – before FERWACY took a decision to field one national team and the two local clubs.
The move sought to give the two only cycling clubs in the country a platform to compete with the international and continental teams so as to gain experience and afford their young talents exposure.
Following the end of the eight-day Tour du Rwanda 2016 – that was won by Valens Ndayisenga, who won the race for the second time after his 2014 success, making it a third successive Rwandan victory, the plan is seen to have worked with all the three local teams, including the national team (Team Rwanda), finishing in the top six of the General Team Classification.
Team Rwanda finished in the third place with a total time of 64 hours, 12 minutes and 39 seconds, while Les Amis Sportifs and Club Benediction finished in the fifth and sixth places, having used 64h31’28’’ and 64h48’40’’, respectively.
South Africa’s Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka was the competition’s best team, finishing top with a time of 63h50’42’’, followed by Ethiopia national team with 64h05’18’’, while Canada’s debutants Team LowestRates. Ca finished fourth clocking 64h19’13’’.
“We are very grateful with how our three teams performed; we saw a lot of new riders making their debut and putting up an extraordinary performance, riders like youngster Samuel Mugisha, which was our target in the first place,” said Bayingana
He further noted: “With what we saw from our teams, it gives us hope for a bright future for our boys.”
Among the debutants was 18-year Mugisha, who was riding for Club Benediction and won the competition’s best climbers’ award.
Mugisha beat closest rival Hailay Kibrom Giday, from Ethiopia, by 60 points, while his teammate and captain Patrick Byukusenge, was the second runner-up having collected only 20 points.
The five other debutants included Eric Nduwayo (Team Rwanda), Jean Ruberwa and Alex Nizeyimana (Club Benediction), while Mathieu Twizerane and Samuel Hakiruwizeye featured for Les Amis Sportifs de Rwamagana.