Cycling: Youngsters Uhiriwe, Ingabire shine at African championships

Renus Byiza Uhiriwe (centre) beat off stiff challenge from Eritrean duo in a three-man tight sprint to claim the coveted gold medal in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia on Monday. Courtesy.


Junior men’s road race

1. Renus Byiza Uhiriwe (Rwanda) – 2:30:23
2. Yoel Asmerom (Eritrea) – 2:30:23
3. Yowhanes Gebrihiwet (Eritrea) – 2:30:23

9. Jean Luc Habimana (Rwanda) – 2:30:23

Junior women’s road race

1. Danait Tsegay (Eritrea) – 1:22:03
2. Diane Ingabire (Rwanda) – 1:22:03
3. Yordanos Russom (Eritrea) – 1:22:03

Renus Byiza Uhiriwe timed his sprint to perfection as he powered to victory in fascinating fashion to be crowned the new African champion in men’s junior road race on Monday.

The 17-year-old became the second Team Rwanda member to win gold at the 14th African Continental Road Championships, which started last Friday in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, after Moise Mugisha in Under-23’s Individual Time Trial (ITT) on Sunday.

Uhiriwe proved too strong for a huge array of pre-race favourites that included home riders and Eritreans. With a few kilometres to go, the Rwandan youngster came from the back of the peloton, and caught up with Eritrean duo of Yoel Asmerom and Yowhanes Gebrihiwet before edging them to the finish line in a tight three-man sprint.

Silver medalist Asmerom and bronze winner Gebrihiwet clocked the same time of 2 hours, 30 minutes and 23 seconds as Team Rwanda’s gold medalist in the 104.4km ride.

Monday’s junior road races were – totally – an affair for Rwanda and Eritrea as no rider from any other country appeared on podium, with Rwanda taking gold and one silver medal, while Eritrea scooped one gold, one silver and two bronze medals.

The silver medal for Nathan Byukusenge’s side came from Diane Ingabire, who missed out on the gold medal of the junior women’s road race to Eritrea’s Danait Tsegay in the final sprint to the finish-line. The two youngsters’ superb performance lifted Rwanda’s medal haul to seven; two gold pieces, two silver and three bronze medals.

The 2019 edition of the continent’s biggest cycling showpiece comes to a climax on Tuesday with the elite & U23 men’s road race.

Should Sterling Magnell’s men manage four – or more – medals on Tuesday, Team Rwanda will beat their own 2018 record of ten medals in one edition of the continental championship since its inauguration in 2005.