On Wednesday 13 July, Team Rwanda-Dassi arrived in Chepstow for our first ever circuit/crit race
A major element of our UK Tour is to give our young tour riders a lot of experience of circuit/crit racing. This format of racing is virtually non-existent in Rwanda and across Africa so the riders are excited, and a little nervous, about taking on seven circuit/crit races in the next 4 weeks!
We have entered them into the elite British Cycling Motorpoint race series to show them the level they will need to attain in the next 2-3 years of their development.
The first of these races was the Chepstow Grand Prix, a key part of the famous Abergavenny Festival of Cycling. This was a tough 1.1km circuit of the town centre with some very tight and fast corners. The format was 60 minutes of racing + a final 5 laps. Preparation for this racing is key and coach Sterling gave the riders a briefing before the race to help them understand what they need to compete...
As with all our races, the team gathered beforehand to have a prayer to ask for support, safety and luck for the team. This is a truly special moment for Team Rwanda and demonstrates our #teamisteam ethos.
With our prayers complete, the team lined up on the start line and hit the race hard against the nearly 50 UK professional riders.
Due to a very strong break by two PedalHeaven riders, over 2/3 of the riders in the race were lapped and removed from the race. Jean Bosco lasted the longest and finished in 29th, with Jean Claude coming in 31, Joseph Areruya in 32 and Samuel further back in 39th.
The team's performance brought cheers from the crowds, complements and offers of support and advice from the leaders of several of the major teams which was wonderful to see. These riders have a long journey ahead and this experience will be invaluable in this process.
Many thanks indeed to Pete and Chad from Plan2Ride (S.Wales best bike shop and mobile mechanics) who are offering mechanical support to our races in Wales and Sheffield also.