Rwandan riders hungry for medals as African champs head into road race

RWANDAN riders are hungry to improve the medal tally for the host country when junior and elite women, as well as junior compete in the 13th edition of the annual African Continental Road Championship this morning.
Beatha Ingabire.
Beatha Ingabire.

Today

Junior men’s road race (72km)

8:30am-10:35am
Junior women’s road race (60km)

8:35am-10:20am
U23 & elite women’s road race (84km)

11:00am-1:20pm
Medal table after 2 days
1. Eritrea – 6 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze
2. Ethiopia – 2 gold, 5 silver, 1 bronze
3. Rwanda – 2 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze
4. Burundi – 1 silver
5. Algeria – 1 Bronze
6. Namibia – Bronze

RWANDAN riders are hungry to improve the medal tally for the host country when junior and elite women, as well as junior compete in the 13th edition of the annual African Continental Road Championship this morning.

The event underway on February 14 and will climax on Sunday in Kigali with the main race of the event, Under-23 & elite men’s road race.

Fresh from a rest day on Friday, all riders will be optimistic for a podium finish in different race category taking place today, which will be started the junior men’s road race starting at 8:30am at Amahoro stadium before their female counterparts get flagged off ten minutes later.

The Under-23 & elite women’s road race, the main event of the day, will kick-off at 11am and is expected to last for a little over two hours where cyclists will race to a distance of 84km with 7 laps from Amahoro Stadium – Kimironko – Kibagabaga – Nyarutarama – Gishushu and Amahoro Stadium.

The junior women’s road race is 60km (5 laps) long while the boys will do six laps of the course to cover 72 kilometers. One lap is 12 kilometers.

In junior categories under Nathan Byukusenge have so far managed two medals, gold in junior women’s TTT and silver in junior men’s ITT which was taken by Yves Nkurunziza on Thursday. In elite women, Sterling Magnell’s riders scooped bronze in Team Time Trial behind Ethiopia and Eritrea.

In elite women’s road race, Rwanda will field four riders; Beathe Ingabire, Magnifique Manizabayo, Jacqueline Tuyishime and Jeanne d’Arc Girubuntu while Samantha Mushimiyimana, Violette Irakoze Neza, Valentine Nzayisenga and Jeanette Manishimwe vie for medals in junior women’s category.

In junior men, teen cyclists Bernabe Gahemba, Yves Nkurunziza, Jean Eric Habiman and Jean Claude Nzafashwanayo will represent the country with hopes for a podium finish. Gahemba a young brother to Africa’s finest Joseph Areruya.

The 23 & elite women’s road race will have a total 22-rider start-list, 15 girls in the junior women’s category and 27 youngsters in junior men’s 84km race for Africa’s new champion in juniors. Algeria’s Hamza Mansouri won race at last year’s edition in Egypt while Haftu Hailu Zayd of Ethiopia and Aurelie Halbwachs of Mauritius claimed gold in junior women and elite women’s categories respectively.

After two days,  Wednesday’s Team Time Trial (TTT) and Thursday’s Individual Time Trial (ITT), Rwanda stands third in the 23-country table with a total eight medals including 2 gold pieces, 4 silver and 2 bronze medals. Giants Eritrea tops the table with 10 medals (6 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze) while Ethiopia ranks second with eight medals, 2 gold, 5 silver and 1 bronze medal in that order.

So far only six nations; Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Algeria and Namibia out of 23 countries, have managed to win at least one medal in the races. Some of the usual suspects such as South Africa, Morocco and Egypt are yet to register a medal on their name yet.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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