Mugisha eager to impress at UCI Road World Champs

Tour du Rwanda 2018 Champion Samuel Mugisha targets to stage a memorable performance at the forthcoming 2018 UCI Road World Championships in Austria. Sam Ngendahimana.

Sept 22-30

The 2018 UCI World Road Championships – Innsbruck, Austria

TOUR du Rwanda reigning champion Samuel Mugisha is optimistic to stage a memorable performance at the forthcoming 2018 UCI Road World Championships in Austria later this month. It will be the rider’s second appearance in world championships.

The 20-year-old is on Team Rwanda’s roster that will make the fourth consecutive appearance at this year’s 91st edition of the world’s premier cycling event, which will get underway on September 22 and run through September 30 in Innsbruck, Austria.

The former Club Benediction rider who in August this year made history by becoming the youngest rider ever (20 years and 250 days) to win Tour du Rwanda, is keen on making great amends to avoid last year’s nightmare debut when he failed to finish the race.

“It is a very aggressive race that requires aggressive preparations. During my debut last year, it was a nightmare, but I am in good shape and the morale is high than last time and I am convinced I will do better this year,” said Mugisha in a telephone interview with Times Sport from Italy on Tuesday

“I am training hard with my team here in Italy. After Tour du Rwanda I had some other good races in Europe, including the Tour de l’Avenir – with Team Rwanda – in France and it really helped me to prepare extensively. I feel fit and ready for the world champs,” he added.

Like his compatriot Joseph Areruya, Mugisha has rallied his Team Rwanda teammates to end the medal jinx that has seen most local riders failing to finish the races in the prestigious event.

“I believe this particular race is a stepping stone to become professional riders and give us a chance to ride in highly rated races in UCI World Tour. I believe we will work together to get probably the team’s best performance yet,” he stressed.

A week ago, Areruya also called on his compatriots to roll up their sleeves and prove their fast-rising status as a force to reckon with on the continent when they compete at this year’s event.

The two are the only riders on the team with a feel of the UCI World Road Championships.

While Mugisha will be making his second appearance, Africa’s top-rated Areruya will be riding the world championships for a third consecutive time since the 2016 debut in Doha, Qatar.

Joining the famous Europe-based duo is Didier Munyaneza, the reigning national champion.

The U23 line-up is completed by Jean Paul Rene Ukiniwabo and Samuel Hakiruwizeye.

In addition, two riders; Jean Eric Habimana and Renus Byiza Uhiriwe will represent the country in the men’s junior category.

Meanwhile, the duo of Ukiniwabo and Munyaneza has been training with French side Pays Olonne Cycliste Côte de Lumière (POCCL) since the end of Tour de l’Avenir last month.

Only Samuel Hakizimana and the juniors are currently in training camp at the Africa Rising Cycling Centre in Musanze, and will link up with the rest of the team in Innsbruck.

Team Rwanda will compete only in the U23 category and juniors’ category.

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