Joseph Areruya and Samuel Mugisha left the country in the early hours of Monday morning aboard Ethiopian Airways to join their new team—UCI Continental Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka in Cape Town, South Africa.
The Team Rwanda riders were signed by the South African Italy-based team in December on a one-year contract following their eye-catching performance during last year’s Tour du Rwanda, which was won by Valens Ndayisenga, who was riding for the same team.
The duo has been training with their Team Rwanda teammates in Musanze preparing for the forthcoming 2017 African Continental Road Championships, the first race on the UCI Africa Tour calendar that will be held in Luxor, Egypt from February 14-19.
According to Team Rwanda official Kimberly Coats, the duo are joining their new teammates for a training camp in Cape Town where they will connect to Luxor for the Continental Championships.
“They will fly directly from Cape Town to Egypt and then back after the Continental Championships. They will come back to Rwanda in mid-March before flying to Lucca (Italy) for the rest of the season, we just applied for their Italy visas last week,” said Kimberly.
The duo replaces their counterparts Bonaventure Uwizeyimana and the reigning Tour du Rwanda champion Ndayisenga whose one-year contract with Team Dimension Data ended in January. Ndayisenga is set to join Austria’s Tirol Cycling Team, in March.
Twenty-one-year old Areruya, who has been riding for Les Amis Sportif de Rwamagana, finished in fourth place in the general classification in the 2016 Tour du Rwanda and won stage four (Rusizi-Huye, 140.7km) which was the longest route of the tour.
On the other hand, Mugisha, described as the new king of mountain climbing and seen as the future face of Rwandan cycling, was among the six cyclists that made their first appearance in the annual UCI Africa Tour, category 2.2 road race.
The 19-year-old surprised many when he emerged as the best climber at the end of the eight-day competition, beating top professional experienced riders to the award which attracted the attention of Dimension Data.