Rwandan riders tipped to outdo past performance

As preparations for Tour du Rwanda reach final stages, the country’s representatives have been tipped to go a notch higher than their past showing.
Team Rwanda riders in training at the team's training camp in Musanze on Wednesday. Times Sport / Courtesy.
Team Rwanda riders in training at the team's training camp in Musanze on Wednesday. Times Sport / Courtesy.

As preparations for Tour du Rwanda reach final stages, the country’s representatives have been tipped to go a notch higher than their past showing.

National cycling team assistant coach Nick Travis says Team Rwanda 2013 are far stronger than the team that participated in last year’s edition.

This year’s Tour du Rwanda gets underway on November 17 through November 24.

Unlike in the last two editions when Rwanda was represented by two teams, a third (Muhabura) has been added to make it three teams in this year’s edition. Each team will comprise five riders.

Last year, Team Kalisimbi and Akagera finished in sixth and seventh positions, respectively, while South Africa-based Adrien Niyonshuti was Rwanda’s best finisher, in ninth position, in the 894.8km race.

Travis now reckons the home riders will do better this time round.

“We have trained for five months, and I think we are ready to do a good job this time round. I expect them (riders) to do better than last year because they have had better preparations,” he said recently.

He added, “The riders are in a strong position to compete for top spots this year, we know the field is going to be very competitive but the boys are in good position to finish high.”

“We know everyone around the country expects them to do better, and rightly so because most of them now have more experience competing at the highest level; I also expect home advantage to play some part for the boys to push themselves to the limit,” Travis explained.

Some of the foreign teams expected to take part in this year’s Tour du Rwanda include; As Be Co of Eritrea, Avia Crabbe (Belgium), Team Haute Savoie (France) and South Africa’s MTN Qhubeka, which features homeboy Niyonshuti.

Others are; UCI Continental Centre (South Africa), Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Algeria, Gabon, and DR Congo. All these were expected in to arrive today.

Team USA Novo Nordisk, which used to participate as Team Type 1, were the first to arrive for the continental race on Wednesday.

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