NATIONAL cycling coach Jonathan Boyer has named an unchanged side for the upcoming Tour of Cameroon.
Despite a below par display in last month’s Tour of Gabon ‘Tropicale Amissa Bongo race’, the American has stuck to the same riders for the Cameroon race slated to run from February 27 to March 7.
Boyer, the first American to race in the Tour of France in 1981, has played down the team’s dismal performance in Gabon insisting that things will be much better in Yaoundé.
“Tour of Gabon is one of the most difficult races in Africa so I don’t want to blame the riders,” he said.
“We had a number of rookies in Gabon like Emmanuel Rudahunga, Gasore Hategeka and Innocent Uwamungu and I have no doubt that they got valuable experience from the race,” the 56-year-old added.
With Adrien Niyonshuti a doubt, Team Rwanda’s four-time Tour of Rwanda champion Abraham Ruhumuriza and Nathan Byukusenge will lead the hunt for honors in West Africa.
In last year’s edition, Ruhumuriza swept two stages, while Gasore Hategeka won one. Milan Barenyi of Slovakia won the race.
In the General rankings, Rwanda finished 3rd out of 11 teams.
The team leaves for Cameroon on Thursday next week.
Meanwhile Nicodem Habiyambere is currently in South Africa on a one month training clinic at the African Continental Cycling Center in Potchefstroom.
The Tour of Cameroon is a highly rated event on the UCI calendar. Other past winners include David Clarke (Great Britain), Flavien Chipaut (France), Pavel Nevdakh (Kazahkstan) and Davide Daniele Silvestre (Italy) among others.
The event will pace off in Maroua, about 1,500km from Yaoundé.