Who are the riders to watch at the Tour of Rwanda 2022? | The new times
Rwandans and cycling fans around the world are eagerly awaiting the 14th edition of the Tour du Rwanda which will start in Kigali on Sunday February 20.
Arguably the biggest race on the UCI Africa Tour, the tournament will attract 95 cyclists from 19 teams from different countries competing in 8 challenging stages that will decide the winner on February 27.
As this year’s edition promises to be even tougher, Weekend Sport takes a look at five runners to watch in the week-long race.
Natnael Tesfatsion (Androni – Giocatolli)
The 22-year-old returns to Rwanda aiming to add another medal to the yellow jersey he won two years ago after beating Rwandan Moise Mugisha to the top prize.
The fact that no Eritrean team will participate in the Tour of Rwanda this year means that Tesfatsion is indirectly representing the country despite the fact that he will be representing a non-Eritrean cycling team.
He won the race with South African cycling team NTT Continental and he wants to prove why Androni – Giocatolli, a UCI Pro team registered in Italy, signed him last year by winning this year’s edition.
Moise Mugisha (Protouch – 2nd GC 2020)
The 25-year-old returns to the big stage after missing the Skol Continental team’s Adrien Niyonshuti Cycling Academy (SACA) and national cycling team rosters, despite being considered the best runner that Rwandans were impatiently waiting for. to challenge the Tour Rwanda months after winning the 2020 Chantal Biya Grand Prix.
Mugisha fell out of favor with his then manager Adrien Niyonshuti and as a result forced to leave the team to join South African side Pro Touch.
After narrowly missing out on the yellow jersey for the 2020 Tour of Rwanda, Mugisha wants to make history in team colors and become the first Rwandan to win the race since being sanctioned in the UCI 2.1 race.
The 30-year-old Canadian was just 17 seconds away from winning last year’s edition of the Tour Rwanda only to lose it in the deciding stage to eventual winner Cristian Rodriguez.
Now that the Colombian is out this time around, Piccoli, who rides for the Israel-Premier Tech (IPT) UCI World Tour cycling team, thinks it’s time to bring the yellow jersey home.
Jonathan Restrepo (Androni-Giocattoli)
The Colombian, who rides for Italy’s Androni Giocattoli cycling team, has arguably won most stages over the past two editions of the Tour of Rwanda, becoming a stage winner four times in 2020 and once last year.
With the routes of the Tour of Rwanda looking more familiar to the 27-year-old, the race could be decisive for him to finally leave a mark by winning this year’s edition, after finishing fifth last year by just 51 seconds behind winner Cristian Rodriguez. .
It will however depend on who the team will face between him and Tesfatsion.
Alexandre Geniez (Total Energies)
Cristian Rodrigues won the 2021 Tour of Rwanda in the colors of Total Energies and in his absence, the French professional road cycling team, which participates as a UCI ProTeam in the races of the UCI Continental Circuits, thinks it can keep the Yellow jersey with a new face in experienced rider Alexandre Geniez.
Geniez, 33, has already won at least one stage in La Vuelta, a multi-stage cycling race sanctioned by the UCI World Tour and held annually in Spain, in 2013, 2016 and 2018.
He has also won French national races including the Tour d’Ain 2015, the Tour de la Provence 2018 and the Grand Prix La Marseillaise in 2018.
With his performances in recent years, Geniez’s experience on the big stages puts him among the favorites for this year’s Tour du Rwanda.