Tour du Rwanda: Mugisha keen to retain King of Mountain jersey

Rwanda’s South Africa-based Samuel Mugisha, who rides for UCI Continental Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, is optimistic about retaining his ‘King of the Mountain’ jersey when the 2017 Tour du Rwanda gets underway on Sunday through November 19.
Mugisha, then 18-year-old, won the best climber jersey with 60 points on his Tour du Rwanda debut. File.
Mugisha, then 18-year-old, won the best climber jersey with 60 points on his Tour du Rwanda debut. File.

2017 Tour du Rwanda stages

Nov. 12: Prologue: 3.3km
Nov. 13: Stage 1 Kigali-Huye 120.3km+ 4 categorized climbs
Nov. 14: Stage 2 Nyanza- Rubavu 180km+ 6 categorized climbs
Nov. 15: Stage 3 Rubavu-Musanze 95km+ 1 massive categorized climb
Nov. 16: Stage 4 Musanze-Nyamata 121km+ 4 categorized climbs
Nov. 17: Stage 5 Nyamata-Rwamagana 93.1km+ 3 categorized climbs
Nov. 18: Stage 6 Kayonza-Kigali 86.3km+ 4 categorized climbs (including the infamous “Mur de Kigali”)
Nov. 19: Stage 7 Kigali-Kigali 120km+ 10 categorized climbs (one lap of the circuit)

Rwanda’s South Africa-based Samuel Mugisha, who rides for UCI Continental Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, is optimistic about retaining his ‘King of the Mountain’ jersey when the 2017 Tour du Rwanda gets underway on Sunday through November 19.

Mugisha, then 18-year-old, won the best climber jersey with 60 points on his Tour du Rwanda debut, and he believes that another year’s experience in South Africa has made him a better rider.

“I think I am capable of doing better than last year. I feel stronger, more mature and ambitious, I know what I want in Tour du Rwanda but again it will need team spirit and hard work if I’m to achieve my goals, which include retaining the best climber jersey,” Mugish told Saturday Sport.

Last year’s exploits bore him immediate fruits with a move to Africa’s best cycling club, UCI Continental team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, along with compatriot Joseph Areruya.

Mugisha finished on 25th position in general classification as compatriot Valens Ndayisenge, who was riding for Team Dimension Data, won Tour du Rwanda for a second time following his first win in 2014.

Mugisha’s love for cycling started in 2013 during the fifth edition of Tour du Rwanda. The then 16-year old was among the spectators who lined up the streets to cheer riders during stage three (Rubavu-Kinigi, a 62km stretch) that year.

He admitted: “I think I have improved my level of performance since last year. If I consider the way I have been riding recently, I would not be wrong to say that I have a good chance to do better.”

Last month, the 19-year-old won the race to prepare Tour du Rwanda, from Nyanza in Southern Province to Rubavu in the North, covering 180km after clocking 4h40’58”.

In the 9th edition of the annual UCI Africa category 2.2 road race, Rwanda will be represented by three teams namely; (Team Rwanda), Club Benediction de Les Amis Sportifs de Rwamagana.

Mugisha competed in the Africa Championships in 2015 and, in 2016, he was named on the senior national team that competed in Tour d’Algérie, Tour International de Sétif, Tour of Eritrea, Tour of Colombia, Tour de Paix de Goma, and Grand Prix Chantal Biya.

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