This year’s racing competition is expected to bring together renowned international cyclists compared to previous years.
In 2019, Eritrean Merhawi Kudus won the race followed by 8 ranks with Rwanda’s very own Areruya Joseph.
A year after the 2019 race, Rwandan teams stated they are confident the grand prize will stay in Rwanda.
16 teams are expected to participate in Tour du Rwanda with 15 racers from 3 Rwandan teams including Team Rwanda, Benediction Ignite and SKOL Adrien Cycling Academy (SACA). The two latter regularly participate in international racing competitions.
All the racers are currently in a boot camp at Africa Rising Cycling Center located in Musanze District. Racers from other teams have also joined the boot camp including Estonian, Rein Taaramäe who races for the Direct Energie team.
Taaramäe came second during last year’s Tour du Rwanda and it is highly likely he might win it this year. He has previously raced in international cycling competitions including Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and the Vuelta in Spain.
Despite the fact that Rwandans will race along highly qualified cyclists, they remain confident victory is theirs this time. Rwanda boasts a team of renowned cyclists like Mugisha Samuel and Areruya Joseph from Team Rwanda, Byukusenge Patrick from Benediction Ignite and Mugisha Moïse from SACA.
On Wednesday, February 19th, 2020, Rwanda Tea which will be providing the signature yellow jersey to the best racer throughout the competition, visited the racers at the boot camp.
Uwacu Cynthia, Rwanda Tea representative called upon the Rwandan racers to be confident, use tactics they acquired during trainings and win the grand prize. “We are excited about this new chapter and by how big Tour du Rwanda has evolved to be over the last three years but most of all, we expect Rwanda to stay on top and win the grand prize.”
Team Rwanda captain, Mugisha Samuel said “We will outdo ourselves to win this race and we are confident the Yellow Jersey will remain in our camp.”
Byukusenge Patrick who will be leading Benediction Ignite team reassured fans that the yellow jersey belongs to their team.
The racers also received a visit from Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY) officials including FERWACY president, Murenzi Abdallah, Nkuranga Alphonse, the Second Vice President and Sekanyange Jean Leonard, the Executive secretary.
Murenzi said that having a team spirit is a major factor that will grant them victory.
Niyonshuti Adrien, SACA coach who also won Tour du Rwanda 2008 emphasize on Murenzi’s point and said that one of the things he is thankful for is having a supportive team and that it is mostly the reason why he won Tour du Rwanda in 2008.
During Tour du Rwanda, cyclists will race 882.9 kilometers during 8 days.
A day at ARCC boot camp
Africa Rising Cycling Center (ARCC) is the home of Rwanda cyclists although it is open to racers from other countries who are doing preparatory training ahead of Tour du Rwanda.
ARCC has the capacity of hosting 60 racers at once where 4 live in one house with 4 rooms.
Racers from Rwandan teams who are preparing for Tour du Rwanda wake up at 7 in the morning, grab breakfast and start training from 10 am to noon after which they go for lunch. At 6pm, they engage in light exercises and have dinner by 7 pm.