Jean Bosco Nsengimana, winner of the 2015 Tour du Rwanda, will lead Team Rwanda’s charge in Eritrea. (Sam Ngendahimana)
Apr. 14: Fenkil Northern Red Sea Challenge (113km)
Apr. 16: Massawa Circuit (117.7km)
Apr. 23: Asmara circuit (129.6km)
Tour of Eritrea 2017
Apr. 18: Stage 1 - Dbarwa › Keren (124.75km)
Apr. 19: Stage 2 - Keren › Barentu (142.14km)
Apr. 20: Stage 3 - Hagaz › Asmara (117.16km)
Apr. 21: Stage 4 - Mendefera › Massawa (169.94km)
Apr. 22: Stage 5 - Massawa › Asmara (107.79km)
The national cycling team (Team Rwanda) left the country on Wednesday morning aboard a RwandAir flight to the Eritrean capital of Asmara ahead of the 14th edition of Tour of Eritrea that gets underway on April 18 until 22.
Following the poor performances at the La Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon and Tour of Cameroon, Team Rwanda riders are in high spirits to make amends at this year’s Tour of Eritrea that has over the years been dominated by the home riders.
Last year, Rwanda fielded four riders, with Joseph Areruya being the best performer in 15th place while Camera Hakuzimana and Uwizeye came in 17th and 18th places respectively. Ephrem Tuyishime finished in the 27th place. Eritrean, Goitom Merhawi, is the defending champion.
The five-day 2.2 Africa UCI Tour race will be preceded by two Africa UCI Circuits, namely; Fenkil Northern Red Sea Challenge slated for Friday (tomorrow) and Massawa Circuit slated for April 16 while the Asmara Circuit will be the closing event on April 23, after the Tour of Eritrea.
Head coach Sterlling Magnell took a roster of six riders led by 2015 Tour du Rwanda champion Jean Bosco Nsengimana, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, 2016 African Championship U23 road race silver medalist Jean Claude Uwizeye, Jean Paul Rene Ukiniwabo, Eric Nduwayo and Didier Munyaneza.
Nsengimana, who returned to his best form last month by winning the first race of the 2017 Rwanda Cycling Cup, told Times Sport that they are aiming to return home glorious.
“We are very confident about our chances to win this tour or at least win some stages, we haven’t done well in recent races this year, but we have made some adjustments in areas where the coach thought we need to improve,” said Nsengimana.