Rwanda’s top professional cyclist Adrien Niyonshuti is set to make his historic debut at this year’s 100th edition of Giro d’Italia that will start on May 5 in Alghero on the Island of Sardinia, and run until May 28 in Milan.
The 30-year-old star, riding for UCI World Tour Team, Dimension Data, will become the first Rwandan rider to race at one of the world’s Grand Tour races.
The development was confirmed on Monday by his South African-based team on their official Twitter handle where they announced a roster of eleven riders topped by Niyonshuti from which nine will be selected to represent the team at the three-week event.
Giro d’Italia attracts all UCI World Tour Teams and they are all obliged to attend the race.
“We are happy to announce our 11-rider long list for the 100th @giroditalia! #BicyclesChangeLives #Giro100.” Their handle also had a clip displaying the photo of each of the eleven riders.
Among the eleven riders is Eritrean Daniel Teklehaimanot Girmazion, who won the 2010 edition of Tour du Rwanda.
The other nine riders are; Ben King, Igor Anton, Jacques Janse Van Rensburg, Johann Van Zyl, Kristian Sbaragli, Nathan Haas, Natnael Berhane, Omar Fraile and Ryan Gibbons.
Speaking to Times Sport, Niyonshuti disclosed that; “I feel excited to be on the long list but since it’s not the short list, let’s wait and see.”
Niyonshuti joined Dimension Data in 2009 (then MTN Qhubeka) after attending Africa Continental Centre Training Camp in South Africa.
He started his first UCI European road race in August 2009 with his participation in the 2009 Tour of Ireland, becoming the first Rwandan cyclist to ride in the European professional peloton.