Chris Froome, his teammates and representatives from the management of Israel Premier-Tech arrived at Kigali International Airport around 2:52 a.m on Thursday 16th February 2023.
Froome 37, is among legendary cyclists as he won seven Grand Tours: four editions of the Tour de France (in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017), one Giro d’Italia (2018) and the Vuelta a España twice (2011 and 2017). He has also won several other stage races, and the Vélo d’Or three times.
Upon arrival, Froome expressed delight to be in Rwanda for the first time.
“It is my first time here. I grew up not too far away, in Kenya. I am happy to be here and looking forward to the race this week,” he noted.
“I don’t really know what to expect in the race, I have never raced here before. I am expecting a fast and furious week racing. […] I am sure there is a lot of strong local talents and I am looking forward to getting to know some of those guys,” added Froome.
At least 100 riders from 20 teams are expected to participate in the race scheduled between 19th and 26th February 2023.
Froome confirmed his participation in Tour du Rwanda on 15th January 2023.
He will be riding for Israel Premier-Tech which is participating in Tour du Rwanda for the eighth time.
Froome was expected to participate in Tour du Rwanda 2022 but got a knee injury during preparations.
In 2019, he sustained serious injuries in a freak high-speed accident. At the time, the cyclist broke a leg, ribs and an elbow after colliding with a wall outside the town of Roanne in the Loire in France.
After leaving Team Ineos, Froome raced in Tour de France mu 2021 where he finished in 133rd place.
Israel Premier-Tech team landed in Kigali three days ahead of Tour du Rwanda 2023.
It has joined other teams that have already arrived in Rwanda to participate in the eight-day race.
These include TotalEnergies from France, Terengganu Polygon from Malaysie, Bike Aid from Germany, Soudal Quick-Step from Belgium and Bolton Equities Black Spoke from New Zealand which arrived in the morning of Wednesday 15th February 2023 as well as Tartu 2024 from Estonia which landed in Rwanda on 10th February to make enough preparations in Musanze.