TEAM Rwanda riders put up an impressive performance to win two medals – silver and bronze – at the opening day of the 14th African Continental Road Championships in Baher Dar, Ethiopia on Friday.
The 2019 edition of the annual multi-category event will run through March 19.
At the five-day long race series, Team Rwanda is fielding a total of 14 riders; five in men’s elite category, four in juniors, four in women’s elite fray and one in junior women’s section.
The continent’s biggest cycling event started with Team Time Trial (TTT) races in all four gender and age categories, where Rwanda was represented in three, only missing in the junior women’s category.
The two medals for Team Rwanda on Day 1 of the competitions came through the elite men’s team, which struck silver after finishing second – behind Eritrea – and the junior men’s line-up that finished third to take bronze, behind gold medalists Ethiopia and first runners-up Eritrea.
Hosts Ethiopia completed the podium in the men’s elite contest.
Sterling Magnell’s elite team was led by two-time Tour du Rwanda winner Valens Ndayisenga, and also included Jean Claude Uwizeye, Moise Mugisha and Jean Bosco Nsengimana.
Ndayisenga and Nsengimana were part of the quartet that also included Adrien Niyonshuti and Joseph Areruya, which also trailed Eritrea to win silver in Team Time Trial at last year’s championships that were staged in Kigali, Rwanda.
After Friday’s TTT races, the African Championships resume Sunday with Individual Time Trial (ITT) series before Monday’s road races in men and women’s junior categories as well as for the elite female riders.
The elite men’s road race – the competition’s main event – will bring the curtain down on this year’s championships on Tuesday.
Rwandan cyclists won a record ten – including three gold – medals as Rwanda finished third in overall classification behind powerhouse Eritrea and Ethiopia.