Benediction Cycling founders, Felix Sempoma and Benoit Munyakindi, registered their team, the first UCI Continental Team registered in Rwanda, on November 26, 2018, with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). Benediction Cycling is currently a Rwandan club team with a successful track record for producing some of the top cyclists in Rwanda over the past decade. The team is primed to move to the next level of cycling to continue growing the sport in Rwanda and providing the much needed professional experience for its cyclists.
This Rwandan registered team joins the growing number of UCI Continental Teams from the African Continent including the first Angolan registered team and three new Continental Teams based in South Africa, the most in UCI history from the African continent.
Felix Sempoma founded Benediction Cycling in 2005 out of his love for the sport and his drive to see his cyclists receive an education on and off the bicycle. His background is in the tourism business and throughout the past decade Felix and his partner, Benoit, built a successful cycling development program, which also includes a fully supported women’s club team in Rwanda. The Benediction Cycling Program based in Rubavu, Rwanda, sits on the shores of Lake Kivu in western Rwanda. Benoit Munyakindi is currently Vice President of the Rwandan Cycling Federation.
“This has been a dream of mine and Benoit’s for years. We want to give these young men the opportunity they need to continue advancing in the sport. We know Rwandan cyclists have the talent to compete at the highest levels and we are excited to participate throughout Africa, Europe, and the United States in 2019. We are thankful for our sponsors and for the support we’ve received. We also thank the Rwandan Cycling Federation, Simon Hupperetz and Jock Boyer and Kimberly Coats from Africa Rising Cycling for their assistance in launching this team. We modeled our program after Team Rwanda Cycling and learned how to run a professional team through working with Jock and all the coaches and mechanics who have given their time in Rwanda over the past decade. ”
Benediction Cycling Team fields a team of experienced cyclists paired with impressive young Rwandan talent for the 2019 season which will remain all Rwandan. In 2020, Benediction plans to recruit from additional African countries while keeping its Rwandan base.
The team includes:
Patrick Byukusenge – 2018 Rwanda Cycling Cup Champion
Jean Bosco Nsengimana – 2015 Tour of Rwanda
Bonaventure Uwizeyimana – 2016 Rwandan National Road Cycling Champion and former member of Team Dimension Data Continental Team
Gasore Hategeka – 2017 Rwandan National Road Cycling Champion
Didier Munyaneza (U23) – Current Rwandan National Road Cycling Champion
Eric Manizabayo (U23)
Yves Nkurunziza (U23)
Jean Claude Nzafashwanayo (U23)
Felix Sempoma is the team Director with two Rwandan support staff, Theoneste Karasira (Mechanic) and Innocent “Rocky” Uwamungu (Soigneur).
Benediction Cycling received their first invitation to participate in the 2019 UCI 2.1 Tour of Rwanda. Additionally, they have a tentative month long Belgian program planned with the support of SKOL and a possible appearance at late summer races in the US.