As the build-up to the 2016 Tour du Rwanda begins, we profile the mechanics who work hard to keep the racers going.
Name: Jamie Bissell (California)
Team History: Team Rwanda Head Mechanic for 3 years. This is his 4th Tour of Rwanda. Sadly...he will be leaving Team Rwanda after the Continental Championships February 2017.
Favorite Country: "Eritrea, such a unique country that I never would have been able to visit if it hadn't been for Team Rwanda Cycling!"
Favorite Race: Circuit of Algiers in 2014 when Janvier Hadi won. It was an epic international victory
Favorite Food: Pizza
Best Accomplishment: Learning and teaching carbon frame repair which has resulted in approximately 20 more bikes back on the road in Rwanda! His next adventure will be going around Lake Victoria on a motobike!
Highlights of his time with Team Rwanda:
- Camel herders in the middle of the race in Eritrea
- Driving a moto at the National Championships of Rwanda in 2015
- Jeanne d'Arc's 2nd place finish in the ITT at the Continental Champs 2016
- Jean Claude's breakaway at the Qatar UCI World Champs 2016
- Jock Boyer blowing through a toll booth in Morocco during the race...sorry Morocco we still owe you a new gate!
Name: Issa Ntibitura
Age & Family: 32, married with 4 children (1 set of twins!)
Team History: Former cyclist now mechanic for Team Benediction/Skol at Tour of Rwanda. Raced Tour of Rwanda in 2010
Favorite Country: South Africa
Favorite Race: All African Games in Congo Brazzaville
Motivation: Wants to be a pro mechanic like Jamie. Loves being at the BIG race (Tour of Rwanda) and gaining more experience!
Little known fact: Issa is the premiere carbon frame rebuild specialist in Rwanda...and probably across Africa!
Name: Theoneste Karasira
Nickname: "Preacher Man"
Age & Family: 25, single
Team History: He was a cyclist from Sashawara and raced Tour of Rwanda in 2013 & 2014. He's been training as a mechanic since 2014 and this will be his first Tour as a team mechanic with Les Amis Sportif
Motivation: He decided to become a mechanic because he knew he wasn't strong enough to race at the top level, but loved the sport so much he wanted to stay involved. "I am very happy to be with the riders again and supporting the team as a mechanic"
Favorite food: Pancakes