Isarel’s top professional cycling club is the latest addition to the strong roster of teams which will take part in the 2019 Tour du Rwanda which will roll out of Kigali on February 24 for eight days of racing.
The development was confirmed on Monday by the Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY). Commenting on the Tour du Rwanda twitter, @Tour_du_Rwanda, a statement read, “Happy to announce that @yallaACADEMY has been added to a strong #TdRwanda19 field! They will be racing in the 2nd time after 2016 when @Guillaumeboivin won stage 1.They will line-up alongside 16 teams announced earlier!Here’s a complete list of selected teams! Bring it on,”
Israel Cycling Academy, a UCI Pro Continental Team will be making their second appearance at the Tour du Rwanda following their 2016 maiden participation which saw one of their riders Guillaume Boivin claiming the opening stage.
Canadian Boivin has again been listed in the first team for Israel Cycling Academy for 2019. He will be joined by Canadian Alex Cataford Belgium’s Tom Van Asbroeck, Israel’s Itamar Einhorn, Australia’s Nathan Earle and Guy NIv from Israel among others.
Besides Israel Cycling Academy, other UCI Continental Pro teams confirmed for next month’s Tour du Rwanda include; French teams Delko-Marseille and Direct Energie and Team Novo Nordisk from USA.
The only UCI World Team ready for the Tour is Astana Pro Team, a professional road bicycle racing team sponsored by the Samruk-Kazyna, a coalition of state-owned companies from Kazakhstan.
The UCI continental teams which have affirmed their readiness include’s Rwanda’s Benediction cycling team from Rwanda, Pro Touch from South Africa, Interpro Stradalli Cycling from Japan, BAI-Sicasal-Petro de Luanda from Angola and Team Dimension Data from Italy.
The National teams listed for the event include hosts Team Rwanda, Algeria, Kenya, Eritrea, Cameroon, Ethiopia and France’s U-23 national team respectively.
Key riders to expect
Eritrean rider Merhawi Kudus, who first competed in the race in 2012 and took his first UCI victory there, is expected to lead the Astana roster.
Kudus signed with Astana for next season after five years with the Dimension Data and MTN-Qhubeka teams. He started racing with French Pro Continental team Bretagne-Séché Environnement in 2013.
Rwanda champion and 2017 Tour du Rwanda winner Joseph Areruya signed with Delko Marseille Provence KTM for next season after two years with Dimension Data’s Continental development team and will be on hand to show off his new jersey.
Reigning champion Rwandan Samuel Mugisha who will be riding for Dimension Data for Qhubeka is expected to face tough opposition in his quest to retain the title.
The 2019 route will once again feature the mountainous roads in the ‘Country of Thousand Hills,’ with a concentration of climbs coming during the last weekend in the streets of the capital, including three passages of the Wall of Kigali.
The earlier stages will also provide plenty of challenge, however, as the race features 19,336 meters of climbing over eight days, including 4,591 and 3,445 during stages 3 and 5.
This 11th edition will also see the longest stage in the history of the event during the third day between Huye and Rubavu, with a record distance of 213.1km.
2019 Tour de Rwanda stages:
Stage 1 – Sunday February 24: Kigali-Kigali (112.5 km)
Stage 2 – Monday Februart 25: Kigali-Huye (120.3 km)
Stage 3 – Tuesday February 26: Huye – Rubavu (213.1 km)
Stage 4 – Wednesday February 27: Rubavu – Karongi (103 km)
Stage 5 – Thursday February 28: Karongi – Musanze (138.7 km)
Stage 6 – Friday March 1: Musanze – Nyamata (120.5 km)
Stage 7 – Saturday March 2: Nyamata – Kigali (84.2 km)
Stage 8 – Monday March 3: Kigali – Kigali (66.8 km)