By Ostine Arinaitwe,
Daniel Teklehaimanot will not defend his Tour of Rwanda title after confirmation that Eritrea have pulled out of this year’s edition.
The ace rider, who also inspired Eritrea to this year’s African Cycling Championship last week, cruised to victory after beating off stiff competition from compatriot Natnael Berhane. Teklehaimanot won the 1119.1km race after clocking 29 hours, two minutes and 32 seconds, which is 56 seconds faster than Natnael Berhane.
This year’s edition gets underway on Sunday with a prologue 4km race.
Twelve teams have confirmed participation. Like last year, Rwanda will field two teams; Karisimbi and Akagera.
Other foreign teams in contention include Morocco, Algeria, Ethiopia, Team Type 1 of USA, Reine Blanche from France, Belgium’s Flanders Avia, Kenya, Tanzania and MTN Qhubeka of South Africa.
The race will cover a total distance of 775km, spread over seven stages.
Editor’s Note: After hosting and winning the most successful African cycling Championship (9-13 Nov), Eritrea played first (11 Nov) and return leg (15 Nov) matches for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Rwanda. It would be a logistical nightmare for Eritrea to send its most fearsome cyclists for the Tour of Rwanda competition (20 Nov) that also falls within the same week. Eritrea have had enough for the past whole one week. We look forward for the 2012 edition of the Tour of Rwanda next year.