A delegation from the world cycling governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI), is expected in the country early January next year to conduct an inspection ahead of the imminent start of construction works for a UCI World Cycling Centre, also known as WCC Satellite Centre in Rwanda.
The development was confirmed by Rwanda Cycling Federation president Aimable Bayingana in an exclusive interview with Times Sport on Monday.
In August, while on a three-day visit to the country, UCI President David Lappartient revealed that Rwanda had been chosen to host a WCC Satellite Centre but did not provide details about the timeline for the project.
Lappartient said he has prioritised establishing two new WCC satellite centres in Africa, one in West Africa while the other will be in the Central/Eastern Africa region –specifically in Rwanda.
Bayingana, who currently doubles as president of L’Union Francophone de Cyclisme, the cycling governing body of the International Organisation of La Francophonie following his unanimous election in October in Paris, told The New Times that UCI Congress has already approved the project and officials from the body will be visiting the country next month for an inspection.
“So far there’s no specific time when the project will start but it has already been approved by the UCI Congress which sat during the recent World Championships and we expect to receive an official in January who will be conducting a tour of the site,” said Bayingana.
Asked about where this facility will be located, Bayingana noted that, “It will be at the current premises of Africa Rising Cycling Centre in Musanze, we already have facilities there for training and the place is the home to Team Rwanda, so the inspection will seek to determine what can be improved to upgrade the centre to a UCI level.”
The Africa Rising Cycling Centre (ARCC), located in northern part of the country, was established to serve as a hub for African cycling growth and hosts riders from Burundi, Ethiopia and Eritrea for training.
The only UCI World Cycling Centre in Africa is based at an altitude of 1400m in the South African city of Potchefstroom.
Working in collaboration with UCI and the Confederation of African Cycling, the mission of the WCC Africa is to develop and improve the level of cycling across the continent, and prepare African riders for international competitions.
Since it started operations in 2005, ARCC has hosted hundreds of athletes from over 30 different national federations.
The WCC Africa hosts training camps for athletes, coaches and national teams in Potchefstroom, and is also involved in the organisation of talent identification programmes in different countries.
The most exceptional talents are often selected to continue training at the UCI’s World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland.
Besides the physical training, riders are also taught basic life skills necessary for professional cycling such as nutrition, meal preparation, and administrative tasks such as visa applications.
Former WCC Africa trainees have won medals at African Continental Championships and UCI World Cups. Some represented their countries at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games, while several others went on to join UCI World Tour teams, including the Eritrean duo of Daniel Teklehaimanot and Merhawi Kudus.