Cycling: Magnell names team for World Champs

Samuel Mugisha (L) and Moise Mugisha will lead Team Rwanda at this year’s Road World Championships come September 22-29 in Yorkshire, England. / File

Sterling Magnell, head coach of the national cycling team, has announced Team Rwanda’s roster that will represent the country at the forthcoming 2019 UCI Road World Championships.

The week-long event is due September 22-29 in Yorkshire, England. 

Yet to win a medal in the world championships, Rwanda will this year send four riders in the U.K, two in the junior category and two in the Under-23 races.

The country will have no representative in men’s elite category, and for the fourth successive year, no Rwandan female rider in the world’s biggest cycling meet.

Jeanne d’Arc Girubuntu, who competed at the 2015 edition in the United States, remains the first and only black African woman to ever race the road world championships.

Speaking to Times Sport on Sunday, Emmanuel Murenzi, the permanent secretary of Rwanda Cycling Federation, admitted that it is still a long shot for Rwandans to win medals on the world stage, but tipped the young riders to earn lessons, exposure and experience.

“The technical team selected youngsters who still have a chance to ride at the highest level. The exposure and experience riders earn at world championships is important.

Whether they win medals or not, we hope they will ride impressively and increase their chances of securing contracts with professional teams,” said Murenzi.

The 2018 Tour du Rwanda winner, Samuel Mugisha, and Moise Mugisha – who claimed Rwamagana Circuit on Saturday – will compete in the U23 men’s Individual Time Trial (ITT) and road race, while Renus Uhiriwe Byiza and Eric Habimana will be vying for honours in similar categories, under the junior section.

Uhiriwe is Africa’s reigning champion in juniors’ road race, while Moise Mugisha, 21, is the champion in U23 men’s road race after bagging gold medals at this year’s African Continental Road Championships in Ethiopia, in March.

Gold medalists at world championships are entitled to wear the winner’s rainbow jersey in races of their respective categories, either in mass start or time trial, until the next championships.

Samuel Mugisha, who rides for South Africa’s Italy-based Dimension Data for Qhubeka, is expected in the country on Monday to start training at the Africa Rising Cycling Centre in Musanze.

In the meantime, Habimana, currently based at the UCI high-performance training centre in Switzerland, will link up with the rest of his compatriots in Yorkshire.

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