From road to mountain-bike!
Nathan Byukusenge is not only a famous road racer in his country, he’s also a gifted mountain- bike rider. His excellent bike handling skills allow him to switch from road into off road. In May 2015, Nathan qualified for the Olympic mountain bike race at the continental championships organized in Rwanda. Being qualified and representing his country in Rio is seen as a mayor goal for Rwanda’s best mountain biker.
The challenge for the 2016 season is to get enough racing experience to be able to race against the best riders in the world. The Cape Epic, also called the Tour de France of mountain biking was Nathan’s first international rendez-vous; an important step in his preparation towards Europe.
Techniques and skills, a must!
Rwanda is the ideal place for mountain biking because of the forests and trails that it offers. Recreating rocky sections and jumps, practising skills and endless descents offers an outstanding technical preparation. Inspired by world-class circuits, Nathan and his coach, Simon Hupperetz, have worked together to build a new training environement, which has allowed them to progress on the most basic techniques to tricky rock garden sections.
South Africa-The Cape Epic
Recognized as the major mountain bike stage race in the world, the Cape Epic is also chosen by many professionals to gear up for the new season. Nathan, associated with his South-African partner, Thinus, raced above all expectations. They made it to 18th place in the general classification and finished as 3rd best African. A great performance!
XCO series SA and Continental Championships Lesotho
After a solid race, finishing 7th, in Gauteng a week after the Cape Epic, Nathan made it to Lesotho to compete at the Continental Championships. Again, a great performance finishing 6th and as the first black African behind the power house, South Africa. A great result, which moves him into the top 200 in the UCI world ranking, his best ranking ever.
Europe Trip: A Step Further
With the Olympics getting closer, Team Rwanda offers Nathan the chance to compete in Europe. A one month trip to see, learn, and race with the best riders in the world. World-Cup events such as Albstadt (Germany) or La Bresse (France) are on the menu, a first experience in the UCI highest level racing category. Belgium will be the first stop, a warm up session before bigger battles!
Written by Coach Simon Hupperetz