Rwandan Cyclists Turn Focus on Eritrea Tour
BY JULIUS MBARAGA
The National Cycling team (Team Rwanda) is leaving nothing to chance ahead of the upcoming Tour of Eritrea. The team is expected to start residential training today in Musanze, Eastern Province under the guidance of the experienced American coach Jonathan Boyer.
Boyer, the first American to compete in the Tour de France back in 1981, is convinced that with the right preparation, the team can challenge for honors in Asmara after a spirited 7th position in last month’s La Tropicale Amissa Bongo, Africa’s premier cycling competition, which was held in Gabon.
The tour of Eritrea is slated to run from May 30 to June 3 and Emmanuel Murenzi, the executive secretary of the local cycling federation (Ferwacy), is convinced the terrain suits Team Rwanda.
“The Eritrean terrain is similar to that of Rwanda. It’s generally a hilly country which should suit our boys,” he confidently said.
While Team Rwanda is only making their debut in the tour, they are not new to Eritrea’s small hills and climbs peppered along the route having competed in last year’s African Cycling Championship in Asmara.
In Gabon, three-time Tour of Rwanda winner Abraham Ruhumuriza emerged as the country’s top performer in the grueling 579.4 km race in which he finished 12th.
France’s Anthony Charteau, who was riding for Europcar, won the race and was closely followed by Adrien Niyonshuti’s MTN Qhubeka teammate Meron Russom and 2009 Tour of Rwanda champion Jelloul Adil (Morocco) in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
Nathan Byukusenge, Emmanuel Rudahunga and Nicodem Habiyambere finished inside the top 30 while Rwanda’s prospects Hadi Janvier and Joseph Biziyaremye, who were making their maiden appearance in the six-stage race, came in at 42nd and 74th place respectively.
In the team rankings, Europcar came top followed by MTN Qhubeka and Astana in second and third place. Eritrea, Morocco, Specialised Concept Store cycling team and Team Rwanda then followed in that order.