Mugisha, U23 Team Rwanda head to France for Tour de l’Avenir

Tour du Rwanda 2018 winner Samuel Mugisha (left) thanks his compatriot Didier Munyaneza for supporting him in his quest for glory throughout the race. They will both ride in Tour d’Espoir in France. Sam Ngendahimana.

Tour de l’Avenir roadmap

Aug 17
Stage one: Grand-Champ-Elven (138.2km)
Aug 18
Drefféac-Châteaubriant (144.2km)
Aug 19
Le Lude-Châteaudun (171.2km)
Aug 20
Orléans-Orléans (TTT) (20.2km)
Aug 21
Beaugency-Levroux (145.8km))
Aug 22
Le Blanc-Cérilly (181.1km)
Aug 23
Moûtiers-Méribel (Mountain) (35.4km)
Aug 24
La Bathie-Crest-Voland Cohennoz (Mountain) (81.1km)
Aug 25
Séez-Val d’Isère (Mountain) (83km)

Aug 26
Val d’Isère-Saint-Colomban-des-Villards (Mountain) (149.7km)

One day after his historic Tour du Rwanda victory, Samuel Mugisha and the national Under-23 cycling team (U23 Team Rwanda) will this morning jet off to France ahead of this year’s Tour de l’Avenir – scheduled for August 17-26.

Team Rwanda is set to become the first African team to participate in Tour de l’Avenir, the world’s biggest and most respected cycling event for riders aged 23 and below.

The ten-stage race is regarded as the junior version of the famous Tour de France.

Led by Mugisha, under the watchful eye of head coach Sterling Magnell, the team of five riders were due to set off at 8am this morning aboard a RwandAir flight before linking up with the 2017 Tour du Rwanda winner Joseph Areruya in France where he currently plies his trade with UCI Professional Continental team Delko–Marseille Provence KTM.

“This is the biggest race we will have been to, it is a rare opportunity to test ourselves against the best riders in the world,” Magnell said in an exclusive interview with Times Sport on Monday.

The riders that win Tour de l’Avenir go on to race and win Tour de France not long after,” he further added.

Tour de l’Avenir (for Tour of the Future) is a French road bicycle racing stage race, which started in 1961 as a race similar to the Tour de France and over much of the same course but for amateurs and for semi-professionals, known as independents.

A total of 26 teams from around the world are expected to compete in this year’s edition with Team Rwanda, the only team from Africa.

“We will know exactly where we stand or how much ground we have to cover before we can compete with the best on the global scene as we strive to getting Rwanda to world beaters level,” he further stressed.

Felice Gimondi, Joop Zoetemelk, Greg LeMond, Miguel Indurain and Laurent Fignon won the Tour de l’Avenir and went on to win 12 Tours de France between them.

Since 2007, the race is designed for riders aged 23 or younger and has been a national team competition.

Other than Mugisha and Areruya, the team is also composed of reigning national champion Didier Munyaneza, Samuel Hakiruwizeye, Eric Manizabayo, and Jean Paul Rene Ukiniwabo.

Veteran rider Obed Ruvogera is the soigneur, while Eric Maniriho is the mechanic.

Meanwhile, Elite Team Rwanda also left the country on Monday afternoon for the second annual Colorado Classic in the United States. The 2.HC UCI category race is slated for August 16-19.

Full list of teams

Germany, Austria, Australia, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Belgium, Centre Mondial du Cyclisme, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Spain, United States, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, Pays de la Loire, Netherlands, Plonda, Portugal, Russia, Rwanda, Slovenia and Switzerland.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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