Tour de l’Avenir roadmap
Stage 1: Grand-Champ-Elven (138.2km)
Stage 2: Drefféac-Châteaubriant (144.2km)
Stage 3: Le Lude-Châteaudun (171.2km)
Stage 4: Orléans-Orléans (TTT) (20.2km)
Stage 5: Beaugency-Levroux (145.8km))
Stage 6: Le Blanc-Cérilly (181.1km)
Stage 7: Moûtiers-Méribel (Mountain) (35.4km)
Stage 8: La Bathie-Crest-Voland Cohennoz (Mountain) (81.1km)
Stage 9: Séez-Val d’Isère (Mountain) (83km)
Stage 10: Val d’Isère-Saint-Colomban-des-Villards (Mountain) (149.7km)
The national Under-23 cycling team, Team Rwanda U23, will today mark their historic debut at the world’s biggest U23 cycling race – Tour de l’Avenir – in France.
The annual race starts today and runs through August 26 with a total of 156 riders from 26 teams, including some of the world’s cycling giants.
Team Rwanda is the first African team to take part in the race for riders aged 23 and below.
The ten-stage race is regarded as the junior version of the famous Tour de France.
Speaking to Times Sport from France on Thursday, the national team head coach, Sterling Magnell, said that there is excellent mood in the team, and every rider is high-spirited and eagerly looking forward to race their biggest career race to date.
“They are in good spirits and fine form. They are very happy for their historic appearance in Tour de l’Avenir – the world’s most respected race for U23 cyclists,” Magnell noted.
“We did some short training Wednesday to open the legs and another one on Thursday. We are now ready to get out there and test ourselves against the world’s best,” he added.
However, speaking to Times Sport yersday, one of the main riders on the team, Samuel Mugisha, said he had fallen ill since Team Rwanda’s arrival in France on Tuesday, and was unsure whether he would race today.
Magnell’s roster includes newly crowned Tour du Rwanda champion Samuel Mugisha, reigning national champion Didier Munyaneza, Samuel Hakiruwizeye, Eric Manizabayo, Jean Paul Rene Ukiniwabo and sensation Joseph Areruya, whom they joined in Africa on Tuesday.
Areruya, 22, is La Tropicale Amissa Bongo champion, and he currently plies his trade with France’s UCI Professional Continental team Delko–Marseille Provence KTM.
Today, Team Rwanda will discover the 132.8km Grand-Champ-Elven stage.
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.
Felice Gimondi, Joop Zoetemelk, Greg LeMond, Miguel Indurain and Laurent Fignon won the Tour de l’Avenir before going on to win 12 Tours de France between them.
Since 2007, the race is designed for riders aged 23 or younger and have been a national team competition.
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.