Uwizeye expects tougher Rwanda Cycling Cup season

Despite claiming the second race of this year’s Rwanda Cycling Cup on Saturday, Les Amis Sportifs rider Jean Claude Uwizeye remains cautious about his chances of winning the title.
Les Amis Sportifs de Rwamagana rider Jean Claude Uwizeye celebrates his victory in the second race of the 2017 Rwanda Cycling Cup in Nyagatare.  / Sam Ngendahimana
Les Amis Sportifs de Rwamagana rider Jean Claude Uwizeye celebrates his victory in the second race of the 2017 Rwanda Cycling Cup in Nyagatare. / Sam Ngendahimana

Saturday
Famers’ Circuit: Kigali-Nyagatare

Men Elite & U23
Jean Claude Uwizeye (Les Amis Sportifs) 3h:41’:46”
Patrick Byukusenge (Club Benediction) 3h:41’:46”
Camera Hakuzimana (Cycling Club for All) 3h:41’:46”

 

Juniors
Kayonza-Nyagatare
Jimmy Mbarushimana (Club Benediction) 2h:17’:29”
Eric Manizabayo (Club Benediction) 2h:17’:29”
Jean Eric Habimana (Fly Club) 2h:17’:29”

 

Women
Kayonza-Nyagatare
Jean d’Arc Girubuntu (Les Amis Sportifs) 2h:42’:31”
Beatha Ingabire (Les Amis Sportifs) 2h:42’:31”
Varerine Nirere (Les Amis Sportifs) 2h:42’:31”

 

Despite claiming the second race of this year’s Rwanda Cycling Cup on Saturday, Les Amis Sportifs rider Jean Claude Uwizeye remains cautious about his chances of winning the title.

The 23-year-old put on an eye-catching display to win the 152-kilomtre race that began from Kigali to Nyagatare in the Eastern Province, beating a strong field that included the 2015 Tour du Rwanda winners, Jean Bosco Nsengimana, who had won the first race in April.

Uwizeye believes the battle of supremacy has intensified and it is no-longer a two-team race, especially with Huye-based Cycling Club for All (CCA) making their presence felt this year.

Since 2015 when Rwanda Cycling Cup was established, it has been pre-dominantly a two-team battle between Rubavu-based Club Benediction and Les Amis Sportifs from Rwamagana’ with the former coming on top in the previous two editions.

Despite missing two out of the ten races last season, Uwizeye still managed to finish in the second place overall in the Elite Men category with 138 points, just 14 behind the eventual winner Gasore Hategeka of Club Benediction, however; the points were enough to give Uwizeye the U23 title.

Last season’s achievement makes Uwizeye one of the favourites to win this year’s title, but the Team Rwanda rider himself believes the race has improved significantly and the competition level has gone up following the rise of many young riders.

“It’s really interesting this year, for the past two editions, the competition has always been between Benediction and Les Amis Sportifs and it has not been looking really good but now CCA have made their presence felt and we are now wary about them,” said Uwizeye after Saturday’s race.

He added “Now, whenever a CCA rider makes a breakaway, a Club Bendiction rider attacks and Les Amis Sportifs riders do the same, which shows how the competition has improved and I expect it to be tougher this season. But at end of the day, this competition is good for Rwanda cycling.”

CCA is led by Team Rwanda rider Camera Hakuzimana, who returned to cycling this year after 10 months out of action due to suspension by the local cycling governing body, FERWACY over inappropriate conduct.

On Saturday, Hakuzimana, who failed to finish the first race, Kigali-Huye, made the first breakaway together with Benediction’s rising talent, 19-year-old Didier Munyaneza and had a lead of two minutes between the chasing group.

With about 43 kilomtres to Nyagatare town, the chasing group that included Uwizeye, had already caught up with the duo and the Les Amis Sportifs rider went on to win the race after posting 3 hours, 41 minutes and 46 seconds.

He crossed the finish line in a sprint photo finish with Club Benediction’s Patrick Byukusenge and CCA’s Hakuzimana.

Les Amis Sportifs had two riders finishing in the top 10; Club Benediction had three while CCA had also three riders with Muhazi Cycling Generation also having two.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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