Cyclist Ndayisenga turns focus to Tour de France

After winning his second title of Tour du Rwanda last week, Valens Ndayisenga has vowed to become the first Rwandan professional rider to compete at the world’s most popular bicycle race, Tour de France.

The Rwamagana-born star, riding for South Africa’s Dimension Data For Qhubeka, scooped his second title in three years after finishing on top of the general classification of the eight-day seven-stage race that concluded on Sunday at Amahoro National Stadium in Kigali.

After his historic feat in 2014 when he became the first Rwandan to win Tour du Rwanda since it became a 2.2 category UCI Africa Tour race in 2009, Ndayisenga set a record as the first rider to win the international road race twice.

Despite becoming the master of the highly rising Tour of Rwanda in the only four times he has participated (2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016), the 22-year-old star has made it clear that he still has a long journey to go to achieve his career goal after revealing to Times Sport on Tuesday in an exclusive interview that his dream is to compete in Tour de France.

“I love this sport and I want to go beyond this stage and compete in three major European professional cycling races including Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España and I hope Tour du Rwanda is my stepping stone,” said Ndayisenga

The four-time record stage winner of Tour du Rwanda whose one-year contract with UCI Team Dimension Data expires in January is hoping to get a new professional team in Europe if he doesn’t join Dimension Data World Tour team.

“However you cannot reach there without a good professional team, I have a two-week holiday and after that I will talk to my team if they can retain me in the senior team that will be great, but if they don’t I hope I get one from Europe from where I can chase my dream,” he further added

On top of winning the race, the all-round rider also clinched the best young rider award, best African rider award and best Rwandan rider award.

Overall, Ndayisenga used a time of 21 hours 15 minutes and 21 seconds covering a total distance of 819.1 kilometres while the runner-up and teammate Eyob Metkel used 21h16’00’’ and Tesfom Okubamariam, who claimed third place, 21h16’51’’.

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