Uwizeyimana stars again as Benediction Club dominate Northern Challenge

Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, 26, throws her arm in the air to celebrate his victory after crossing the finish-line in Musanze on Saturday afternoon. / Sam Ngendahimana

Saturday
Northern Challenge
(Musanze Circuit)

Men elites & U23
1. Bonaventure Uwizeyimana (Benediction) 3h32’35”
2. Eric Manizabayo
(Benediction) 3h34’12”
3. Mike Uwiduhaye
(Nyabihu CC) 3h34’15”

Juniors
1. Muhirwa Nzeyimana
(Benediction) 2h27’45”
2. Eric Muhoza
(Les Amis Sportifs) 2h27’45”
3. Felicien Hakizimana
(Fly Cycling Club) 2h27’45”

Women
1. Valentine Nzayisenga
(Benediction) 1h:59’30”
2. Claudette Nyirarukundo
(Benediction) 1h59’33”
3. Josiane Mukashema
(Benediction) 2h03’32”

In what was a Benediction Excel Energy Club affair, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana continued his stellar 2019 season as he claimed the Northern Challenge in Musanze District, on Saturday afternoon.

Benediction, Rwanda’s first UCI continental team, swept all the top honours in Men’s elite & U23 category, the men’s junior category and the women’s fray.

Uwizeyimana, who clinched his second national championship last month, cemented his status as the man to beat in local cycling this year with a spectacular solo finish in men’s elite category, a whopping 97 seconds ahead of teammate Eric Manizabayo who finished second.

Former Dimension Data for Qhubeka rider Uwizeyimana covered the 150.5km distance race – a 50km ride from Gakenke and 15 laps (6.7km each) in Musanze town – in a stunning time of 3 hours, 32 minutes and 35 seconds.

The Tour du Rwanda 2015 champion, Jean Bosco Nsengimana, made an early breakaway and led the peloton until the ninth lap before Uwizeyimana launched a solo attack in the 10th lap.

Up and coming star Mike Uwiduhaye, riding for Nyabihu Cycling Club, finished in third position, just three seconds off the first runner-up.

In men’s junior category, the youngsters did 15 laps – of the same 6.7km distance – as Benediction’s Muhirwa Nzeyimana outsprinted Eric Muhoza and Felicien Hakizimana to win the race in 2 hours, 27 minutes and 45 seconds.

Valentine Nzayisenga, also featuring for Benediction Excel Energy, also continued her dominance in women cycling as she soloed to victory after covering the 12 laps (80.4km) in 1 hour, 59 minutes and  30 seconds, beating her teammate Claudette Nyirarukundo by one minute and three seconds.

Of the 51 riders that started the race, 17 were part of the DR Congo team who are preparing for the upcoming Tour du Congo 2019. However, only one rider managed to complete the race.

UP NEXT

After two races in this year’s Rwanda Cycling Cup, up-next on the calendar is the Kigali Challenge, slated for August 3.

The race will roll off from Nemba, in Bugesera District, and end in Kigali

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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