The national cycling team (Team Rwanda) was on Saturday involved in a car accident while at the 2018 edition of Grand Prix Chantal Biya which concluded yesterday, leaving all the riders injured.
As a result, Team Rwanda immediately withdrew from the race.
The accident happened when Team Rwanda, along with Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, were travelling on a bus to the start of Stage 4, from Samgmelima to Meyomessala.
According to Felix Sempoma, the national team assistant coach, who is with the team in Cameroon, the driver of the bus failed to negotiate a sharp corner, which saw the vehicle overturning and rolling several times before it stopped. All the 17 riders on board were injured.
“It was a horrific accident to witness, fortunately we didn’t lose any person. Some of our riders were badly injured, especially Jean Bosco Nsengimana and Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, but they have been given intensive care and are responding well,” Sempoma told to Times Sport in a telephone interview on Saturday.
“With everyone on the team injured, we cannot continue racing. Our priority now is to ensure that everyone is given the needed medical attention and recovers well. If all goes well we may come home on Monday,” he added.
Team Rwanda were making their return to the 2.2 annual UCI Africa Tour race after missing last year’s edition. The five-rider line-up was led by Uwizeyimana, who is also the reigning Tour du Cameroun champion and the 2015 Tour du Rwanda champion, Nsengimana.
Nsengimana is the only Rwandan with a stage victory at this particular race.
The team also included debutants; Janvier Rugamba, Eric Manizabayo and Michel Uwiduhaye.
After three stages, Uwizeyimana was the best performing Rwandan rider where he was in seventh position just 20 seconds behind Slovak Juraj Bellan, who was leading the General Classification, having clocked 9 hours, 27 minutes and 56 seconds.