Mugisha keen to defend Tour du Rwanda title

Tour du Rwanda 2018 champion Samuel Mugisha will lead Team Dimension Data’s five-man team in the new revamped Tour du Rwanda. File.

South Africa based rider Samuel Mugisha will be looking to defend his title when the 2019 Tour du Rwanda starts on February 24.

Mugisha will lead Team Dimension Data’s five-man team in the new revamped Tour du Rwanda. The other riders are Mulu Hailemichael (Ethiopia), Luca Mozzato (Italy), Matteo Sobrero (Italy) and Martin Laveric (Slovenia).

“Our target is to retain the title and that’s my ambition, I’m very confident and I share the same mentality with each rider on the team. We have had fantastic preparations and everyone is ready to fight again,” said Mugisha.

The 20 year-old is currently in a training camp with local cyclists at the Africa Rising Cycling Center (ARCC) in Musanze District.

 “I have had great preparations and every rider on the team is ready for the race. I believe if we can start doing well in the first stage we will have a lot to say about our chances but it certainly won’t be the end,”

Mugisha made history as the youngest rider ever to win the annual race since it was incorporated into UCI Africa Tour in 2009, a record that was held by Valens Ndayisenga who in 2014 became the first Rwandan rider to win Tour Rwanda.

This will be the first time Tour du Rwanda is held as a 2.1 category race following its elevation last year.

In total, the 16-team peloton will cover 959.1km over the course of eight days.

Pro Touch, a South African professional cycling team has also released its team for the competition and they include; Jayde Julius, James Fournie, Rohan Du Plooy, Mornay Van Heerden and Calvin Baneke.

Pro Touch is regarded as one of the favourities for the eight-day event.

Meanwhile Eritrea also has a team that includes past winners of the competition and will provide very stiff competition. The Eritrean team; Daniel Teklehaimanot, Mekseb Debesay, Yakob Debesay, Aron Debretsion, Sirak Tesfom, Michael Habtom, Henok Mul

Tour du Rwanda 2019

Stage One

February 24: Kigali – Kigali (112.5km)

Stage Two

February 25:  Kigali – Huye (120.3 km)

Stage Three

February 26: Huye – Rubavu (213.1 Km)

Stage Four

February 27: Rubavu – Karongi (103 km)

Stage Five

February 28: Karongi – Musanze (138.7 km)

Stage Six

March 1: Musanze – Nyamata (120.5km)

Stage Seven

March 2: Nyamata – Kigali (84.2 km)

Stage Eight

March 3: Kigali – Kigali (66.8 km)