As the build-up to the 2016 Tour du Rwanda begins, we profile the Rwandan riders in the race...
Today we profile the three riders taking part in the race who now race professionally for international UCI teams:
Team: Team BIKEAID
Rider: Bosco Nsengimana
Nickname: "Senene" Grasshopper....we saw him go from the back of the pack to the front on a short steep climb...like a grasshopper!
Tour History: Won Tour of Rwanda in 2015 (subsequently got signed with Team BikeAid for the 2016 season). 4th Tour of Rwanda
Family: 1 brother and 1 sister. Lives with mama, papa died in 1992 before the Genocide. Bike taxi driver before Team Rwanda
Favorite Food: Salad and pasta
Favorite Country: USA
Motivation: Pride for my country
Goal: To win AGAIN!
Team: Team Dimension Data
Rider: Valens Ndayisenga
Nickname: "Maboko" which means VERY long arms!
Tour History: This is his 4th Tour of Rwanda. He won the race in 2014. Unfortunately had to pull out with a heat-related issue in 2015. Signed for Dimension Data Continental Team in 2016
Family: Has 4 sisters, one of whom - Severine - who now races - and 2 brothers. Takes care of his mama and papa. He was going to school before joining Team Rwanda
Favorite Food: Pasta and Cabanera Pizza (has been in Italy the past 6 months!)
Favorite Country: Switzerland
Motivation: To win prize money to help my family and to hopefully find a new team for the 2017 season
Goal: To work with my team-mate Bona and my countrymen to secure a strong result
Rider: Bonaventure Uwizeyimana
Nickname: "Cowbona" a nickname he picked up when he was in the US. He loves the Wild West (Wyoming/Colorado) and cowboy boots!
Tour History: This is his 4th Tour du Rwanda. 1st Rwandan to win a stage at Amissa Bongo in Gabon. Signed for Dimension Data Continental Team for the 2016 season
Family: 4 sisters and 3 brothers and takes care of his papa. His mother died in 2004. He was a former single speed taxi driver and tested 3 times before being selected to race for Team Rwanda! Spokesperson for Operation Smile (he has a repaired cleft palate)
Favorite Food: Sausage Pizza (he just spent 6 months living in Italy!)
Favorite Country: USA
Motivation: I race for my country as I have much pride for my country
Goal: To win stages