November 13th, 2016 by Tyler D’Arcy – Canadian Cycling Magazine
American Timothy Rugg of Gatineau-based Team Lowestrates.ca wins 2016 Tour du Rwanda prologue – Guillaume Boivin finishes fourth.
On Sunday, the eighth edition of the Tour du Rwanda got underway in the nation’s capital city of Kigali. The UCI 2.2 stage race is the last event on the UCI Africa Tour calendar for 2016. In total, 73 riders from 17 teams took the start line at the Amahoro Stadium for the 3.3km prologue including three Canadians. Guillaume Boivin of the Cycling Academy, and Gatineau, Quebec-based Team Lowestrates.ca members Cameron McPhaden and Stephen Keeping are all in Rwanda to contest the seven stage race.
American Timothy Rugg of the Canadian Team Lowestrates.ca finished the day with the fastest time completing the course in four minutes on the dot. “I had high hopes of getting in the top ten today,” said Rugg. “The win is really a nice surprise.”
Three seconds behind Rugg was Amanuel Gebreigzabhier (Eritrea/Dimension Data for Quebeka) in second place with Joseph Areruya (Rwanda/Les Amis Sportif) in third. Boivin of the Cycling Academy had a strong start to the Tour du Rwanda as well, finishing only four seconds back of the winners time in fourth. Also four seconds behind the winner in fifth position was the winner of the 2015 edition, Jean Bosco Nsengemana of Rwanda riding for Stadelli- Bike Aid.
Monday, November 14th, 2016
KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) — American Timothy Rugg won the prologue as the eighth edition of Tour of Rwanda cycling race kicked off on Sunday at Amahoro National Stadium in Kigali.
The rider of the Canadian Team LowestRates.ca left no chance for his rivals to win the 3.3 kilometer time trial.
He beat Eritrean Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier of South Africa’s Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka after finishing 4 miniutes 0.25 seconds.
“Winning my first victory in Africa has much value for me,” Rugg told journalists at a press conference,”I stayed there [Africa] when I was young in Uganda and Kenya but I had never raced African cycling race. I do not know if I will be able to keep my yellow jersey but the long climbs like those of Rwanda are roads that benefit me.”
Rwandan Joseph Areruya finished in third place after using 4 minutes, 3.95 seconds.
The favourites of this 8th edition in Sunday’s prologue Jean-Bosco Nsengimana of Germany-based UCI Continental Team Stradalli Bike Aid, finished in fifth position on 4 minutes, 4.32 seconds while Valens Ndayisenga of the Dimension Data for Qhubeka and 2014 champion finished in sixth position in 4 minutes, 5.57seconds.
The event has attracted 70 riders, featuring 15 teams.
After the prologue, competition will resume on Monday with Stage 1 where the riders will race on Kigali-Ngoma road, a distance of 96.4 kilometers.
The championship will conclude on November 20 after covering a distance of slightly more than 819 kilometers in seven stages.
1 – Timothy Rugg (USA – Team Lowestrates.ca)
2 – Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eritrea – Dimension Data for Qhubeka)
3 – Joseph Areruya (Rwanda – Les Amis Sportifs)
4 – Guillaume Boivin (Canada – Cycling Academy Team)
5 – Jean-Bosco Nsengimana (Rwanda – Stradalli-Bike Aid) .
Tour du Rwanda excites Rusizi residents
By: PETER KAMASA
PUBLISHED: November 18, 2016
Lowestrates.ca rider chats with young cycling fans in Rusizi on Wednesday. (Faustin Niyigena)
For the first time in the history of Tour du Rwanda, the race reached Rusizi District in the Southern Province causing excitement among the area residents.
On Wednesday the annual UCI Africa Tour category 2.2 road race reached the furthest part of the country following the addition of two new routes; Karongi-Rusizi (115.9km) and Rusizi-Huye (140.7km) through Rwanda’s vast tropical rainforest of Nyungwe.
The third stage on Wednesday was taken by prologue winner, Timothy Rugg, who rides for Canadian side Team Lowestrates.ca after clocking 3h18’16’’ and was followed by Les Amis Sportifs rider, Joseph Areruya by a difference of two seconds. Race leader, Valens Ndayisenga finished the stage in 7th place.
“This is a great moment for the people of Cyangugu (Rusizi), we have waited for so long to see the tour come to our place, finally we are happy to see the riders with our own eyes and not to wait to see them on TV, ” said Casmus Niringiyimana, a resident of Rusizi.
Another resident, Samuel Karamaga, noted, “We are very excited about the race, but more especially that our riders are doing well, and even when we can’t follow them in every stage, we are all behind them, personally, I’m happy to see Tour du Rwanda for the first time and I can’t wait for next year.”
The two routes; Karongi-Rusizi (115.9km) and Rusizi-Huye (140.7km) are characterized by hills, mountains, sharp corners where riders have to be careful so that they don’t crash. The riders have to brace for the rains and chilly weather as they go through Nyungwe forest.
Since becoming an International Cycling Union (UCI) certified race, Tour du Rwanda has produced a different winner each year.
In 2014, Ndayisenga became the first Rwandan rider to win the Tour since its inception on the UCI Africa calendar in 2009, and was dethroned by teammate, Nsengimana.
However, both riders have since joined professional teams—the former signing for South Africa’s Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka while the latter, joined Germany-based Stradalli-Bike Aid.
Riders rank Tour du Rwanda high on UCI-Africa Tour
By: PETER KAMASA
PUBLISHED: November 19, 2016
Some of the riders participating in Tour du Rwanda 2016
Some of the top riders competing in this year’s Tour du Rwanda have admitted that the international race is one of the most competitive on the UCI-Africa Tour, after La Tropicale Amissa Bongo.
The 8th edition of the annual category 2.2 road race started last Sunday and will reach its climax tomorrow after going through most parts of the country and covering a total distance of 819.1 kilometers.
The last two editions of the grueling week-long race saw Rwandan riders dominate the international event, but this year could be difficult as foreign riders want to make sure the title doesn’t stay in Rwanda for a third consecutive year.
The race overall leader, Valens Ndayisenga, winner of the 2014 edition, says; “Tour du Rwanda has become a really top level race and whoever wins deserves it because it’s a tough race and very hard to win.”
Tour du Rwanda, which became a UCI-Africa Tour race in 2009, is designed exclusively for cyclists competing at the international level, and it has had a different winner since the first edition.
Team Rwanda captain Nathan Byukusenge said; “Tour du Rwanda has helped Rwandan cycling to get known at the international level but it has also attracted many tourists to the country.”
“The race has moved from the initial local event to an international race, which is something good for our riders and our country,” added the 36-year-old rider, who plans to retire at the end of this year.
The prologue and stage four winner Timothy Rugg of Team LowestRates.ca from Canada says, “I am surprised by the atmosphere on the roads. There are so many people lining up the routes we pass.”
“There are many races in Europe or elsewhere, where there is no such organization and interest from the general public. I am proud to win here in Rwanda and able to win some stages,” noted the American, who is racing in Tour du Rwanda for the first time.
Canadian Guillaume Boivin, a former rider for Italian Cannondale Team before traveling to Israel this year for the Cycling Academy Cycling Team, went a step further than his rivals saying that Tour du Rwanda is probably the most competitive race on the continent.
85 riders for 2016 Tour du Rwanda
By: GEOFFREY ASIIMWE
PUBLISHED: November 08, 2016
A total of 85 cyclists from across the world will compete in next week’s 8th edition of the annual Tour du Rwanda, according to the organisers, the Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY).
The 2.2 UCI-Africa Tour road race gets underway on November 13 and will run through November 20, attracting 17 teams, each fielding five riders.
Rwanda will be represented by three teams namely; Team Rwanda, Benediction Club and Les Amis Sportif de Rwamagana.
Among the 17 teams include eight African national teams, Team Rwanda, Team Kenya, Team Cameroon, Team South Africa, Team Ethiopia, Team Eritrea, Team Egypt and Team Algeria.
“Each of the 17 teams has confirmed their participation and the five cyclists they will be fielding, we expect a total of 85 riders this year,” FERWACY president Aimable Bayingana told Times Sport in a phone interview on Monday.
The race will also have four UCI continental teams, which include Dimension Data For Qhubeka (South-Africa), Kenyan Riders Downunder (Kenya), Cycling Academy Team (Israel), and Stradalli-Bike Aid (Germany).
In addition, five clubs from different countries have confirmed their participation. They include Rwanda’s Les Amis Sportif de Rwamagana and Benediction Club (Rubavu district), as well as Team LowestRates.ca (Canada), Team Haute-Savoie Rhone-Alpes (France) and Team Furniture Decarte (Switzerland).
Canada’s LowestRates.ca were the first foreign team to arrive in Rwanda on Sunday.
The other teams are expected to arrive in the country to arrive this week.
Since 2009 when Tour du Rwanda became part of the UCI-Africa Tour, a total of 330 riders, representing 37 countries and five continents, have participated in the annual event.
It’s not easy to mixte studies and high level competitive sports. Cameron McPhaden has been doing just that. For the past couple months, he’s been preparing for the biggest, hardest and most epic challenge of his cycling career: Tour of Rwanda.
“WHY BIKE RACING IS CURRENTLY TAKING A PRIORITY OVER GETTING AN EDUCATION”
By Cameron McPhaden.
The current stage of life that I find myself in, is different from most cyclists racing on the International scene. I am currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in mechanical engineering from the Queen’s University. My daily schedule is built around my training as a cyclist, my duties as a student, research assistant and as a teaching assistant.
The daily struggle of making time to fulfill my training requirements and my school requirements simultaneously means that I do not have a single minute to waste. Early mornings are the norm; I get in an hour and a half of interval training on weekdays before heading in to my office at 9:00. It’s not the optimal time of day or length of ride to get the most out of my training sessions, but it’s all I’ve got. On the plus side, my weekends are full of adventure riding with other strong cyclists who love to hammer the pedals hour after hour. These glorious weekend rides contribute to refreshing my mental state, which helps me to survive the grind of the week ahead.
If I were not preparing myself for the upcoming Tour of Rwanda, I would not be worrying about interval training or having my form peak again at the right time. I would be resetting my yearly clock by taking time off the bike to start up training again, refreshed, in the new year.
Many of my hopes for the upcoming edition of the Tour of Rwanda are driven by my passion for bike racing. I aim to be aggressive and competitive throughout the eight days of the tour. I know that there will likely be a day or two where there will be nothing that I can do, except to survive. However, I have been exceptionally gifted with the ability to tell myself: “I will only quit when I’m dead”. You won’t see me pulling over to hop into the ‘Balai’ (broom wagon) if the race gets too tough. I will be there to the end, giving everything I’ve got for my team.
My teammates are what drives me to be the best that I can be. I’m not looking for personal glory, money or sponsorships from competing at the Tour of Rwanda. My personal gain comes from the satisfaction of the service to my teammates as well as the shared memories of being a part of such a tight-knit brotherhood.
After learning more about the ties between cycling and the Rwandan genocide through the movie “Rising form Ashes”, I have a new appreciation for the connection between family, friends and bike racing. The development of international-level riders, teams and programs from such a devastating time in Rwanda’s history is an incredible story that needs to be heard. Knowing that something so awesome can rise from the ashes of something so terrible gives me great hope for the adventure that lies ahead. There’s no doubt that I will receive great inspiration from sources of knowledge and wisdom that I don’t even yet know exist. I am very much looking forward to having the people and the culture of Rwanda leave a firm imprint in my mind about how I look at the world.
Before I knew that my team would be selected to compete in the Tour of Rwanda, I committed myself to three different academic jobs, each of which I have had to get special permissions to take leave. It has been quite complicated, sorting out administrative tasks with the University, getting others to cover my work, explaining to my students why bike racing is currently taking a priority over getting an education… (only slightly joking!) In the end, it will all be well worth the life experience gained in Rwanda.
The bottom line, from a mechanical engineering standpoint, is quite simple.
The greatest invention ever: the bicycle.