TEAM Rwanda Cycling will leave for Cameroon today morning aboard a RwandAir flight ahead of the upcoming 16th Tour du Cameroon scheduled for March 10-18.
The 6-man team, led by the 2015 Tour du Rwanda champion, Jean Bosco Nsengimana, is expected to arrive in Yaoundé later in the day and will have light training on Friday morning and a briefing in the evening before Saturday’s kick-off.
No Rwandan rider has ever been able to win the 2.2 UCI category race. Former Rwanda internationals Emile Bintunimana in 2015 and Camera Hakuzimana in 2016 respectively, came closest, finishing in the third place at the annual event.
The coaching staff led by Benoit Munyankindi named a strong team, with a blend of experience and youth to vie for top honors—the main goal being to win the race.
“We are not going there to settle for less than we are capable of achieving. Our major target is to win the race. We are ready to give our best shot, every rider on the team understands the mission and what it takes to accomplish it,” Munyankindi told Times Sport on Wednesday.
Asked if the addition of former national team captain, Janvier Hadi, will have a positive effect on the teams, Munkanyindi noted that, “Hadi has been away for a while; it would be early to expect a lot from him right now.”
“But, he is a good leader and absolutely an inspiration to the rest of his teammates. His qualities and vast experience will come in handy,” the coach explained.
Apart from Nsengimana and Hadi, the other rider on the team include; Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, former national champion Gasore Hategeka, Ephrem Tuyishime and Jean Damascene Ruberwa.
Of the six riders that represented the country at the 15th edition last year, only Tuyishime, Nsengimana and Uwizeyimana have made it to this year’s team. Rwanda finished third in team classification while Nsengimana took the best climber award.
Munyankindi is taking charge of the team for the first time in a competition outside Rwanda, while Theoneste Karasira is the mechanic and Patrick Kayinamura will be the team physiotherapist.