Rwanda’s most decorated cyclist Valens Ndayisenga is enthusiastic about his chances to retain his title when the 2017 African Continental Road Championships gets underway on February 14-19 in Luxor, Egypt.
The 23-year old will lead a seven-rider Team Rwanda in the hunt for medals at the six-day event.
Ndayisenga is Rwanda’s main hopes for a medal following his record-breaking season of 2016 that saw him become the first rider to win Tour du Rwanda twice since the race was added on the UCI Africa Tour in 2009.
On Wednesday, Ndayisenga together with Bosco Nsengimana, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana and head coach Sterling Magnell flew to Egypt where they linked up with Samuel Mugisha and Joseph Areruya, who were with their new South African team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, in Cape Town.
The remaining duo of Rene Ukiniwabo and Jean d’Arc Girubuntu, the only female rider on the team, left the country on Saturday, aboard Qatar Airways.
Ndayisenga will compete in three different races namely; road race along with five other teammates, Team Time Trial (TTT) along with Mugisha, Areruya and Nsengimana and the Individual Time Trial (ITT) together with Areruya.
Last year in Casablanca; Morocco, Ndayisenga made history after becoming the first Rwandan rider to win a gold medal in the continental showpiece.
He improved on his bronze-medal performance in 2015 to win the gold medal in the U-23 Individual Time Trial and he is full confidence to successfully defend his title when the 41.8km race gets underway on February 16.
“I am ready for the competition, we had excellent preparations and I feel I am in good shape. My target is to win,” said Ndayisenga before their departure.
The Team Time Trial (TTT) is slated for February 14 is the first chance for Rwanda to clinch their first medal and will cover a distance of 57.8 Kilometres while the men road race is slated on the final day February 19 and will cover a distance of 163.6 Kilometres.