Cyclists are in for a busy schedule this month after the national cycling union confirmed that the annual Ascension de Mille Collines tour will take place on June 16, six days after the Kwita Izina Challenge tour.
The 130km race from Huye to Kigali was initially supposed to take place mid last month but was postponed due to Umuganda (community work) that was taking place in the Southern Province.
According to Rwanda Cycling Union Executive Secretary Emmanuel Murenzi, the prizes of the winners will be the same as last year and the competition’s winners will be categorised by clubs and not individuals.
“The winners of the race will walk away with Rwf400,000 while the runners-up and third placed team will bag Rwf300,000 and 200,000 respectively. The fourth placed team will win themselves Rwf100,000,” Murenzi said.
Soras Group Ltd is sponsoring the event to the tune of Rwf5m and the one day event is expected to attract 54 local and foreign competitors.
With a clear advantage, Benediction club which has national team members including Janvier Hadi, Gasore Hategeka and Nathan Byukusenge, will be a hard nut to crack and the favourite to win the winner’s cash prize.
Debutants Abahizi from Kicukiro, who are mainly composed of Americans working in Kigali, also hope to make quite an impression in their maiden appearance.
The other clubs that have confirmed participation include Fly (Gasabo), Club les Amis Sportif (Rwamagana), Kiramuruzi (Gatsibo), Rapide (Kicukiro), Ciné Elmay (Nyarugenge) and Satelite from Kayonza.
Meanwhile, the national cycling team got off to a good start in the highly competitive Eritrean tour and is now in 5th position after stage two.
Veteran rider Abraham Ruhumuriza led Rwanda’s charge after finishing 18th in the 115km stage from Massawa to Asmara. MTN Qhubeka’s Janse Van Renseburg won the stage.
Youngster Joseph Biziyaremye came in 22nd while Nathan Byukusenge was 27th. Emmanuel Rudahunga, Nicodem Habiyambere and Hadi Janvier were 30, 31 and 32 respectively.
Fifteen teams that include Rwanda, Algeria, Cameroon, Tunisia, Morocco and professional teams like MTN Qhubeka are taking part in the race. By press time, riders were racing in stage three.