Renus Uhiriwe set for historic Rwanda Cycling Cup victory

Renus Byiza Uhiriwe, 19, celebrates his solo finish after winning the Central Challenge in Muhanga District last month. Sam Ngendahimana

RENUS Byiza Uhiriwe is set to become the youngest rider to win the Rwanda Cycling Cup when the final race of the 2019 season takes place Saturday.

The 19-year-old goes into the season-ender with a healthy 16 points ahead of second-placed Shemu Nsengiyumva who has 116 points from the first six races.

Saturday’s race will use the Kigali-Rwamagana-Kigali route that will also be used by Stage 1 of the 2020 Tour du Rwanda on February 23.

Should Uhiriwe hold off the anticipated surge from Nsengiyumva and his Les Amis Sportif teammates, he will make the third Rwanda Cycling Cup winner from Benediction Excel Energy after Jean Bosco Nsengimana who claimed the inaugural edition in 2015 and Patrick Byukusenge who was the 2015 winner.

“More than anything, I will need the backup of my team,” Uhiriwe said of what it will take for him to make history. “I feel excited and nervous to be in this position, but I am also optimistic and confident in my teammates. Definitely we are ready for this moment.”

Irrespective of how Nsengiyumba fares, finishing in the top 8 will seal a remarkable victory for youngster Uhiriwe who debuted in the senior category of the year-round championship this year.

“Winning Rwanda Cycling Cup would be a stepping stone to attracting professional teams, and training opportunities abroad. I will give it the best I got.”

The elite men’s category will race to a distance of 126.8 kilometres, with the juniors doing 113.4km, while the female riders will ride 100.6 kilometres.

Regarded as one of the most promising talents in local cycling, Uhiriwe looks to crown what has already been a memorable season in style after striking gold in men’s junior road race at the 2019 African Continental Road Championships earlier this year in Ethiopia.

Uhiriwe, winner of this year’s Central Challenge, also represented Rwanda at this year’s UCI World Road Championships in Yorkshire, United Kingdom.

pkamasa@newtimesrwanda.com

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