Final race; Gicumbi -Kigali
Benediction Cycling Club’s Patrick Byukusenge is favourite to be crowned champion of the 2017 Rwanda Cycling Cup when the year-long competition concludes with the final race of the season on Saturday.
The 25-year-old rider leads the standings with 137 points, 45 points ahead of his 19-year-old teammate Didier Munyaneza, who is in second place with 92 points, and it is highly unlikely anyone can deny him even if the Rubavu-born cyclist doesn’t finish today’s race.
After winning two races this season, Byukusenge says the huge lead gap on top is largely due to the fact that he managed to take part in races, while his closest archrivals missed some races due to international competitions with Team Rwanda.
Byukusenge is the only rider to have won more than one race this season, namely; Muhazi Challenge and the race to prepare for Tour du Rwanda, Rubavu –Musanze.
Meanwhile, the final race of the season, that starts in Gicumbi district in the North and finishes in Kigali, at Amahoro National Stadium, will see the return to top level cycling for former national team rider Janvier Hadi.
The 26-year-old will be riding for Nyabihu Cycling Club in his first race in 15 months after announcing his retirement from professional cycling in August 2016, for allegedly being “unfairly treated by Rwanda Cycling Federation.”
The reigning Tour du Rwanda champion Joseph Areruya and teammate Samuel Mugisha, both riders who renewed contracts with South Africa’s Dimension Data for Qhubeka earlier this month, will also take part in the race.
Two-time Tour du Rwanda winner, Valens Ndayisenga, whose contract with Austria’s Tirol Cycling team expired a couple of weeks ago, will lead Rwamagana-based Les Amis Sportif Cycling Club.
It will be the first race that all the top riders are expected to take part, hence making it hard to predict who would take the day.
The race will attract riders from all local cycling clubs, namely; Fly Cycling Club, Cycling Club for All, Muhazi Cycling Generation, Cine Elmay, Les Amis Sportif, Benediction Club, Rwandan Eagles Cycling Team, Karongi Vision Sports Center, Nyabihu Cycling Team and Kigali Cycling Club.
The women’s fray will be led by Les Amis Sportif’s trio of Jean d’Arc Girubuntu, Xaverine Nirere and Beathe Ingabire.
Female cyclists will ride a total 96.8km from Gatuna boarder in Gicumbi to Amahoro National Stadium while the elite men, U23 and junior category will race to a distance of 108.4km from Gatuna to Amahoro then do one lap around in the capital city.
The one lap will set-off from Amahoro National Stadium and head towards Hotel Chez Lando and go through La Croix du Sud Hospital-Rwanda Development Board-MTN Center-Centre mu Kabuga in Nyarutarama-Kibagaba hospital-Kimironko and Controle Technique- Amahoro National Stadium.