AFTER winning the Central Challenge cycling race on Saturday to clinch his maiden professional title, youngster Mathieu Twizerane has set his sights on the prestigious Tour du Rwanda.
The Ruhango-based Twizerane crossed the finish line one minute and 11 seconds ahead of 2016 winner Gasore Hategeka.
The 26-year-old told Times Sport on Saturday in Muhanga after his first professional victory that his ultimate goal is to win Tour du Rwanda.
“This victory is a motivation to even work harder. May be this could be the turning point of my career to become one of the country’s best,” the Cycling Club for All rider said.
Asked about his aspirations going into the 2017 Tour du Rwanda, Twizerane replied, “It is never too early for big dreams. It is absolutely a race I would love to win and it is a competition that I always work hard for, winning it would be a dream come true.”
The Central Challenge was the seventh race of this year’s Rwanda Cycling Cup. Riding for Huye-based Cycling Club for All (CCA), Twizerane used 3 hours to claim the 115km race from Nemba in Bugesera district, Eastern Province to Muhanga in the South.
With 37 kilometres to go, he escaped the leading peloton to register one of the easiest victories in this year’s Rwanda Cycling Cup.
Youngsters Jean Paul Réne Ukiniwabo and Didier Munyaneza, who also used to the same time (3:01:58) finished in third and fourth places respectively, while Twizerane’s teammate Camera Hakuzimana (3:02:02) completed the top five.
Pre-race favourite and two-time Tour du Rwanda champion, Valens Ndayisenga (3:07:07), finished in a distant 14th place after a tyre puncture 25 kilometers to Muhanga town.
Patrick Byukusenge (3:02:27) finished 6th, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana (3:04:36) finished 8th while Jean Claude Uwizeye came in the 9th position after using 3 hours, 4 minutes and 38 seconds.
Ukiniwabo, who was one of the most impressive youngsters at last month’s Colorado Classic in the United States, won the U23 category.
Meanwhile, Béathe Ingabire, riding for Rwamagana-based Les Amis Sportifs, claimed the top prize in the women’s 81km category to successfully retain her title, while Eric Manizabayo won the men’s junior race, which started from Nyamata to Muhanga.