DANIEL Teklehaimanot will not defend his Tour of Rwanda title after confirmation that Eritrea have pulled out of this year’s edition.
The ace rider, who also inspired Eritrea to this year’s African Cycling Championship last week, cruised to victory after beating off stiff competition from compatriot Natnael Berhane Teweldemedhin. Teklehaimanot won the 1119.1km race after clocking 29 hours, two minutes and 32 seconds, 56 seconds faster than Teweldemedhin.
This year’s edition gets underway on Sunday with a prologue 4km race.
Twelve teams have confirmed participation. Like last year, Rwanda will field two teams; Karisimbi and Akagera.
Other foreign teams in contention include Morocco, Algeria, Ethiopia, Team Type 1 of USA, Reine Blanche from France, Belgium’s Flanders Avia, Kenya, Tanzania and MTN Qhubeka of South Africa.
The race will cover a total distance of 775km, spread over seven stages.
Western Union, Lotto Rwanda, Cogear, Rwanda Development Board, Europcar, the Sports Ministry and Energy Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA) have all thrown their weight behind the event which is expected to cost about Rwf250m.