Barely a month to the kickoff of the most followed sport in the country, Rwandans will next month flock streets and hills to watch Tour du Rwanda.
The 8th Tour du Rwanda – since it became an international tournament in 2009, kicks off on November 12.
Between three to four million Rwandans flock the streets across the country to watch live cyclists snake through the country’s 1000 hills.
According to the Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY), new teams from Asia and Europe will join this year’s week-long race.
Tirol Cycling Team (Austria), Dukla Banska Bystrica (Slovakia), Interpro Cycling Academy (Japan) and the National Cycling team of Mauritius will join the rest of the teams from across Africa and USA.
Rwanda will once again be represented by three teams including the National selection and two clubs. 17 teams of five riders will be on the start line for the Prologue in Kigali on Sunday November 12.
Rwandan teams have already started training at Musanze-based camp in Northern Province.
Meanwhile, Rwanda’s cycling competition still has a long way to go especially in terms of rising to the global categories such as Tour du France.
Tour du Rwanda is currently categorized under the ‘Rankings’ category and will have to work hard to move passed three more categories; Major Races, Classics and Grand Tours – the biggest of all global cycling competition.
There are on 3 competitions under this first category; Tour de France, Italy’s Giro d’Italia and Spain’s Vuelta a España.
Rwanda’s Valens Ndayisenga was crowned the winner of last year’s Tour du Rwanda – making him become the first double winner of the race ever since it became a certified UCI cycling event.
Ndayisenga’s South African team Dimension Data Qhubeka dominated the Tour winning three of the eight stages to scoop the best team title. His team will also participate.
The full list of teams to race at the 2017 Tour du Rwanda
3 Rwandan teams:
- National Team of RWANDA
- Club BENEDICTION of RUBAVU
- Club LES AMIS SPORTIFS of RWAMAGANA
5 African National Teams:
- MAURITIUS National Team
- National ETHIOPIA team
- National Team of ERITREA
- National team of MOROCCO
- National team of ALGERIA
6 UCI Continental teams:
- DIMENSION DATA FOR QHUBEKA (South-Africa)
- TIROL CYCLING TEAM (Austria)
- TEAM ILLUMINATE (USA)
- BIKE AID (Germany)
- DUKLA BANSKA BYSTRICA (Slovakia)
- INTERPRO CYCLING ACADEMY (Japan)
3 Regional or Club teams:
- Team LOWESTRATES.COM(Canada)
- Team HAUTE-SAVOIE / AUVERGNE RHÔNE-ALPES (France)
- Team KENYA RIDERS SAFARICOM (Kenya)