THE 4th edition of the Kwita Izina (gorilla naming) cycling tour is expected to be bigger and more glamorous after sponsors Rwanda Development Board (RDB) upped their sponsorship package to Rwf70m for the event which is scheduled for June 9-10.
Four foreign countries; Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Algeria have already confirmed participation while Eritrea, Ethiopia and Morocco are yet to communicate their availability in the UCI (International Cycling Union) 2:2 race.
Hosts Rwanda will field three teams – Karismbi, Akagera and Rwanda Muhabura – which will be comprised of youngsters that will be given a chance to compete in the cut throat race.
Cyclists will ride slightly close to 300km from Kigali-Kingi-Rubavu and then ride back to Kigali the following day.
The national cycling union Executive Secretary Emmanuel Murenzisaid on Monday that the competiton will be stiffer this time round and that the federation’s decision to enter three teams bodes well for the future of cycling in the country.
“We expect more elite teams to take part, which not only raises the profile of the race but makes the competition more exciting. We also decided to accord our youngsters the opprtunity to acquire more experience in such elite competitions by creating a team specifically for them,” said Murenzi.
The competition started in 2009 as a local race but was upgraded to an international event last year.
Nathan Byukusenge won the inaugural race, Abraham Ruhumuriza won the 2010 edition while Eritrean Daniel Telkehmaniot reigned in last year’s edition.
Ruhumuriza, who has been impressive since the year started, is expected to be challenged by Byukusenge, Gasore Hategeka, Nicodem Habiyambere and youngsters Hadi Janvier and Joseph Bizimuremyi.
The theme for this year’s race is ‘Sustainable Tourism for a Green Economy’.