Today: Amahoro-Kimironko-Amahoro (3.5km)
Nov. 18: Kigali – Kirehe (129.9km)
Nov. 19: Rwamagana – Musanze (151.5km)
Nov. 20: Rubavu – Kinigi (69.4km)
Nov. 21: Musanze – Muhanga (128km)
Nov. 22: Muhanga – Nyamagabe (102.4km)
Nov. 23: Huye-Kigali (125.7km)
Nov. 24: Kigali – Kigali (94.2km)
The start of the fifth edition of the Tour of Rwanda will take place today at Amahoro national stadium with the first of the 8 stages seeing riders doing 3.5 kilometers from the stadium to Kimironko and back at the stadium.
A total of 70 riders representing 14 teams will be vying for the winner’s Yellow Jersey at the end of the eight-day competition that will cover a distance of 805km traversing more areas than the previous editions.
Rwanda will be represented by Team Akagera, Team Karisimbi and Team Muhabura with each fielding five riders. The foreign teams taking part in this year tour include; As Be Co of Eritrea, Avia Crabbe (Belgium), Team Haute Savoie (France) and South Africa’s MTN Qhubeka, which features Rwandan Adrien Niyonshuti.
Others are; Team Novo Nordisk (USA), South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Algeria, Gabon, and Tanzania.
Team DR Congo, Egypt and UCI Continental Centre (South Africa) pulled out at the last minute despite being reported on several occasion as part for the foreign entrants.
The Tour of Rwanda, which is organised by Rwanda Cycling Federation, was first held in 1988 but it became part of the UCI Africa Tour category 2.2 five years ago and since then no Rwandan has won it.
After today’s much shorter stage one, serious business starts tomorrow when the riders set off in Nyabugogo and head to Kirehe District. It is the first time the Tour du Rwanda will cover the area of the Eastern Province, particularly Kirehe.
According to Rwanda Cycling Federation chairman Aimable Bayingana, this year’s tour will have daily highlights shown by TV5 Monde and Super Sport.
The 2012 winner, Darren Lill of South Africa, will not be here to defend his title, which means there is going to be a fifth different champion since the race became a UCI Africa Tour in 2009.
This could be Rwanda’s best opportunity to produce a winner for the first time since 2008 when Niyonshuti came on top, but that was before it had become a level four international competition.
Past winners since 2001
2001: Bernard Nsengiyumva (Rwa)
2002: Abraham Ruhumuriza (Rwa)
2003: Abraham Ruhumuriza (Rwa)
2004: Abraham Ruhumuriza (Rwa)
2005: Abraham Ruhumuriza (Rwa)
2006: Peter Kamau (Ken)
2007: Abraham Ruhumuriza (Rwa)
2008: Adrien Niyonshuti (Rwa)
2009: Adil Jelloul (Mar)
2010: Daniel Teklehaymanot (Eri)
2011: Kiel Reijnen (USA)
2012: Darren Lill (SA)