Rwanda sports fraternity was yesterday evening struck by shocking news of the passing of Jean Baptiste Rugambwa – one of the most influential and impactful personalities in local cycling.
The former Les Amis Sportifs de Rwamagana president and coach was involved in a fatal accident that claimed his life on spot in Rulindo district while enroute to Rwamagana from Rubavu on his motorcycle.
The deceased is one of the people who played a huge part in the development of Rwanda cycling. He is also one of the founders of Rwamagana-based cycling club Les Amis Sportifs.
The accident that claimed his life took place in Rulindo district in Northern Province, just a few kilometers away from Nyirangarama trading center.
According to witnesses on the accident scene, Rugambwa tried to overtake a Ritco bus and suddenly collided with a Fuso Track, which killed him on the spot.
Over the weekend, Rwanda Cycling Federation (Ferwacy) organized two preparatory races; Musanze – Karongi (135.8km) and Karongi – Rubavu (95.1km) ahead of the 2018 Tour du Rwanda scheduled for August 5-12 to give the riders a feel of new stage routes this year.
“Deeply saddened by the death of Rugambwa Jean Baptiste who was also known as Coach John, in a tragic road accident that occurred today while riding a motorbike on the way home from a race in Rubavu,” Ferwacy tweeted on Sunday night.
“Rugambwa was instrumental in developing the cycling sport in Rwanda. He was also a committee member of the cycling federation. Our thoughts & prayers are with the family & friends of Coach John.”
Rugambwa who was also on Ferwacy’s Executive Committee, is hailed to have nurtured and produced some of the most successful riders the country has ever had,
Among these include two-time Olympian Adrien Niyonshuti who was Rwanda’s first rider to race for a UCI World Tour side – Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka – and Joseph Areruya, country’s most decorated cyclist, currently the reigning Gabon’s La Tropicale Amissa Bongo, Tour du Rwanda and Cameroon’s Tour de l’Espoir champion.
The 22-year old plies his trade at the French side Delko Marseille Provence KTM.
Others include two-time Tour du Rwanda winner Valens Ndayisenga, Jean Claude Uwizeye and youngster Jean Paul Rene Ukiniwabo to name a few.
France-based Ndayisenga and Uwizeye ride for Pays Olonne Cycliste Côte de Lumière.
Les Amis Sportifs are one of the three teams to represent the country at this year’s Tour du Rwanda along with Club Benediction of Rubavu and Team Rwanda Cycling.