The national cycling team (Team Rwanda) on Wednesday began rigorous residential training at the Africa Rising Cycling Center (ARCC) in Musanze district ahead of the highly anticipated trip to the United States of America slated for this month (July) and August.
The team under head coach Sterling Magnell is scheduled to leave the country on July 13 for the US where they will compete in the Cascade Cycling Classic scheduled for July 19-23 as a warm-up to the prestigious 2. HC Colorado Classic slated for August 10-13.
Two weeks ago, Team Rwanda was invited to compete in Colorado Classic which will mark the first appearance for Rwandan riders participating in a 2.HC International Cycling Union (UCI) race category.
The prestigious event will attract UCI World Tour teams, UCI Professional Continental Teams and UCI Continental Teams with Team Rwanda so far, the only national team taking part in the four-stage race.
Rwanda will field a total of six riders that include reigning national champion Gasore Hategeka who won the men’s road race recently, 2016 champion Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, who is already in the US and Jean Claude Uwizeye who is a silver medalist in the U23 category (2016 African Continental Championships).
Others are; 2015 Tour du Rwanda champion, Jean Bosco Nsengimana as well as youngsters Rene Jean Paul Ukiniwabo and Didier Munyaneza.
Speaking to Times Sport on Wednesday, the American trainer Magnell revealed that apart from Uwizeyimana who is in the US already, the other five riders began rigorous preparations along with Tour du Rwanda champions Valens Ndayisenga riding for Austria’s Tirol cycling team and is set to train from Rwanda for the rest of his season.
Other riders on the team include three juniors Jean Eric Habimana who is preparing for the forthcoming 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games where he will represent Rwanda in the Individual Time Trial (ITT) and road race plus Eric Nzafashwanayo and Eric Manizabayo who are going to Switzerland at UCI center.
The 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games are scheduled for July 19-23 in Nassau, Bahamas while the duo of Mazibayo and Nzafashwanayo will head to Switzerland on August 4 with Nathan Byukusenge.
Magnell recently tipped local riders to make the most out of their debut at Colorado Classic where he noted that; “As you know it’s a high-level race and comes with a lot of exposure… you got take an invitation like that and make the most of it,” Magnell stated.
He further noted that; “It’s really key for us to be able to bring in a quality team and use the opportunity to show where Rwanda stands and how far we have come in the sport.”
A total of 15 teams have so far confirmed to participate and they include four UCI World Tour teams namely; BMC Racing Team, Cannondale-Drapac Professional Cycling Team, Trek-Segafredo and UAE Team Emirates.
It will also attract five UCI Professional Continental Teams that include; Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, Israel Cycling Academy, Nippo-Vini Fantini, Team Novo Nordisk and United Healthcare Professional Cycling Team.
There are also five UCI Continental Teams that include Axeon Hagens Berman, Elevate – KHS, Holowesko/Citadel Racing p/b Hincapie Sportswear, Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis and Rally Cycling plus Team Rwanda as the only national team.