Ferwacy promises ‘memorable’ Tour du Rwanda 2019

Team Rwanda riders lead a peleton during the 2015 Tour du Rwanda. Sam Ngendahimana.

Tour du Rwanda 2019 Stages

Stage 1 – February 24: Kigali – Kiigali (111, 8 km)

Stage 2 –February 25: Kigali – Huye (120, 5 km)

Stage 3 – February 26: Huye – Rubavu (213, 1 km)

Stage 4 – February 27: Rubavu – Karongi (102, 6 km)

Stage 5 –February 28: Karongi – Musanze (138, 7 km)

Stage 6 –March 1: Musanze – Nyamata (121, 1 km)

Stage 7 – March 2: Nyamata – Kigali (84, 1 km)

Stage 8 – March 3: Kigali – Kigali (61, 7 km)

The inaugural edition of Tour du Rwanda as a 2.1 UCI category race, and its 11th edition overall, will feature the longest stage in the UCI Africa Tour race’s history – and a record elevation of 19,336 metres.

The eight-stage race, arguably the biggest on the continent, gets underway on Sunday and will run through March 3 across the country.

For the first time, Tour du Rwanda – the country's biggest sporting event – will have four former winners namely; Valens Ndayisenga (2014 & 2016), Jean Bosco Nsengimana (2015), Joseph Areruya (2017) and Samuel Mugisha (2018), in the race.

Jean Bosco Nsengimana – winner of the 2015 Tour du Rwanda

“Everything is in place for a memorable event – for both spectators and riders,” said Emmanuel Murenzi, the Rwanda Cycling Federation (Ferwacy) Permanent Secretary.

The 2019 edition will mark the beginning of a new era of the race which is upgrading to a new level in the world cycling hierarchy (UCI 2.1 category) after ten years as a 2.2 event, since turning international in 2009.

“The competition is going to be stiff than it has even been before, the home riders will have to step up or else lose the title they had won back-to-back for the last five editions,” he added.

Valens Ndayisenga (2014 & 2016) is the only rider with two Tour du Rwanda titles since the race turned international in 2009

The high-status upgrade of the race created a new interest in the competition, which is hosting for the first time a team of the World Tour – Astana Pro Team.

Stage 3, slated for February 26, will be 213.1km long from Huye District in South Province to Rubavu in Western Province, and will be the longest stage in Tour du Rwanda’s history.

Joseph Areruya claimed the 2017 Tour du Rwanda while riding for South African side Dimension Date for Qhubeka

The total race distance is 953.6km, and will start and end in the country’s capital – Kigali.

Samuel Mugisha clinched last year's Tour du Rwanda aged 20 years and 250 days to become the race's youngest champion

The opening stage will see the 17-team peloton – a field of 85 riders – racing a total of 111.8 kilometres from Kigali to Rwamagana and back to Kigali, while the ultimate (eighth) stage will be a 61.7km circuit race across Kigali.