This year’s International Cycling Union (UCI) sanctioned African Cycling Championship that involves various African countries would be held in the Red Sea state of Eritrea from November 8 – 13, 2011.
Eritrea got the opportunity to host this prestigious continental race after it stood on top of the continent’s best cycling talents by consolidating its dominant position both in the African Intercontinental road Cycling Championship and Tour of Rwanda competitions last year.
In both events, the country crowned winner of the “Tour of Rwanda” and “African 2010 Champion” in addition to winning eight out of the ten gold medals, one silver and one bronze.
Eritrea will be hosting this year’s African Championships for the first time since the major reform of road cycling in 2005.
Last year, the UCI delegate to Africa and director of UCI Continental Center in South Africa, Jean-Pierre Van Zyl, has been in Eritrea to observe and approve the new course on the occasion of the national ‘Tour of Eritrea‘ championships.
Thus far, African giants like South Africa, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt have confirmed to send their talent troops for the big tournament along with Tanzania and Ethiopia.
This week, the secretary general of the Tanzanian Cycling Association (TCA), Mr. Lado Haule, has informed local media that his country would field six of Tanzania’s best cyclists for the championship who are currently in Kigali for two week training before flying to Asmara.
Cycling analysts Pierre Carry emphasized that the 2011 African Championship race in Eritrea will be particularly important for women riders as it will serve as qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics.
It was expected that Algeria, Morocco and Egypt will filed riders who have previous experience in the Tour of Eritrea tournaments to simply counter the Eritreans striking climber advantage thanks to the number of hilly roads in the country like the one that extends from the Red Sea coast to the capital Asmara, which is at an altitude of 2,325 metres.
The Eritrean National Cycling Federation has announced that as many as 21 countries so far have confirmed of their participation in the competition including countries like Algeria, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Ghana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Morocco and Sudan.
It also announced the composition of a strong 10 men national team comprising of Eritrea’s best riders including Daniel Teklehaymanot, Natnael Berhane, Dawit Haile, Frekalsi Debessay, Yonathan Mesfun, Berhane Melake, Michael Russom, Jani Tewolde, Tesfay Abrha, and Michael Tikue. Mr. Samson Solomon has been chosen to continue as the team’s coach.
Rwanda, which is preparing itself for the third edition of its own Tour of Rwanda competition only one week after the Championship in Eritrea was not sure to send its riders to the big event.
Eritrea, on the other hand, has not confirmed yet to field its cyclists in this year’s Tour of Rwanda competition probably because of the close scheduling of the two tournaments in their respective countries.
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RWANDA SWITCH FOCUS TO THE CONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
By The New Time,
02 November 2011 – Team Rwanda riders have continued their preparations for the 2011 African continental cycling championship scheduled to take place from November 9-13 in Asmara-Eritrea.
Rwanda will be represented by six cyclists including one girl and they include; Adrien Niyonshuti, Gasore Hategeka, Nicodem Habiyambere, Obed Ruvogera, Joseph Bizumuremyi and Angelique Mukandekezi.
The riders will compete in three categories which include a 36km Team trial for elite men and U-23 race, 18 km Individual team trial for women and 36 km for men and finally a road race of 146km for men and 62km for women.
Over 120 cyclists on the continent will take part and Team Rwanda coach Jonathan Boyer is expecting a tough race especially on the flat terrain in Eritrea.
“Some of the races will take place on flat terrains which our riders are to, so that will definitely pose a challenge. I have challenged the riders to get podium finishes in the race,” Boyer said. The team will leave next week on Monday.