Uwihirwe inch close to historic Rwanda Cycling Cup triumph

Renus Byiza Uhiriwe eyes history as the youngest rider to win Rwanda Cycling Cup. / Sam Ngendahimana

Renus Byiza Uwihirwe is poised to become the youngest winner of the Rwanda Cycling Cup when the 2019 season concludes on Saturday, December 7.

Just the season-ending race, a circuit race in Kigali, now stands between Uhiriwe and his historic victory.

Ahead of the final race, Uhiriwe, 19, leads the table with 132 points, 16 clear ahead of second-placed Shemu Nsengiyumva. The latter, who rides for Rwamagana-based Les Amis Sportifs, is the only rider who can challenge Uhiriwe for the title.

Race victory in the year-round championship – which this year comprised eight races – accounts for 30 points, which leaves only the top two in the title chase since third-placed Uwiduhaye is 34 points off the summit.

Should Uhiriwe hold off his only challenger to win the coveted trophy, he will become the third rider from Benediction Excel Energy to lift it after Jean Bosco Nsengimana who won the inaugural edition in 2015 and Patrick Byukusenge, winner of the 2017 championship.

Holder Gasore Hategeka, who only took part in one competition – Kivu Race – this year, is the first and only rider to ever win Rwanda Cycling Cup more than once, having won its second (2016) and fourth (2018) editions.

Uhiriwe won his first senior race a fortnight ago following a triumphant showing at this year’s Muhanga Circuit where he covered the 48.6km ride in one hour, 10 minutes and 55 seconds.

“It has been a great year. Right now, I am focused on doing well in the final race, and see if I win Rwanda Cycling Cup this year,” Uhiriwe told Times Sport on Sunday.

Besides excelling on domestic scene, the youngster also in March this year struck gold at the African Continental Road Championships in the men’s junior road race, in Ethiopia.

In the meantime, Diane Ingabire leads the women’s category standings with 54 points, two ahead of Benediction teammate Valentine Nzayisenga, while Josiane Mukesha, also plying her trade with Rubavu-based Benediction, completes the top three with 46 points.

Riding for Les Amis Sportifs, Jean Bosco Hategekimana tops the men’s junior chart with 45 points, leading second-placed Élysée Bikorimana by six points. Eric Muhoza, also with 39 points, is in third position.

peter.kamasa@newtimes.co.rw

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