International Cycling Union (UCI) has promised to back Rwanda in a global bid to host one of the most lucrative cycling championships that could bring over 5,000 cycling tourists in the country, in a single week.
As one of the growing cycling nations, on September 11th 2019, Rwanda entered the bid race to host the UCI Road World Championship 2025, a bid that is set to be decided this January between Rwanda and Morocco.
The UCI event, traditionally held in the Harrogate town, Yorkshire in UK, will for the first time come to an African country, after UCI for the first time, floated, in 2018 bids to African countries.
In a letter dated January 16, 2020, the UCI president, David Lappartient assured Rwanda that the UCI will, under his presidency, do everything it can to protect and advance the cycling sport in Rwanda, in Africa and world hinting on Rwanda’s bid.
“I look forward to collaborating with you in the months and years to come especially in light of Rwanda’s candidature to host the 2025 UCI Road World Championship,” Lappartient said in a congratulatory letter to Rwanda’s new cycling federation president-Abdallah Murenzi.
Murenzi was last December 22, 2019 elected the new Rwanda cycling federation (ferwacy) boss replacing Aimable Bayingana who had resigned that same month.
The lucrative UCI Road World Championship, was initiated in 1921 and takes place every year. Most of the races have been held in the UK.
It has only been held in other countries such as: Canada (1974 and 2003), Venezuela (1997), Colombia (1995), USA (1986 and 2015), Japan (1990), Qatar (2016), and Australia (2010).
In 2018, the UCI race was held in Austria for the 91st edition and third time in the country and in 2019 it was back in UK.
The 2020 event will be held in Switzerland, Belgium (2021), Australia (2022), in UK (2023) and back to Switzerland in 2024 before possibly coming to Rwanda the next year.
To host this kind of event, countries are required to meet some requirements which include proper road infrastructure, security, a functional health system, and meteorological service, to guarantee the renowned riders safety, but also follow the UCI set bidding terms and conditions.
Ferwacy members said that if Rwanda gets a chance to host the event, the cycling game in Rwanda which already has a UCI ranking on the upcoming annual Tour du Rwanda completion in February, will get a big boost.
”This race will put Rwanda on the cycling map that will come with hosting other bigger events but also promote the project of making Rwanda a cycling nation, which is in the pipeline if we get the bid,” said Tity Thierry Kayishema, a local sports journalist.
The UCI boss, Lappartient himself has been to and visited Rwanda during the 2018 Tour du Rwanda and in his discussions with Ambassador Marie Chantal Rwakariza, Rwanda’s envoy to Switzerland, on January 16, promised to promote the Rwanda cycling project.