Rwandan Cycling Federation President Aimable has announced that the country’s Olympic Road Race spot will be given to Adrien Niyonshuti, their most successful and high profile rider to date.
Bayingana confirmed the news yesterday in an interview with The New Times newspaper.
This will be Niyonshuti’s second Olympic appearance having represented his country at mountain biking at London 2012. This is the first time Rwanda has qualified for the Road Race so there will be two Rwandan cyclists at the Rio Olympics as fellow Team Rwanda founder rider Nathan Byukusenge qualified earlier this year to race the Mountain Bike race.
Niyonshuti was chosen ahead of Janvier Hadi who rides for the German-based UCI Continental team Stradalli–Bike Aid. Hadi took part in the An Post Rás in Ireland last month.
“For the Olympic Games cycling, it is the country that qualifies, not individuals, Rwanda qualified in two categories; Mountain Bike where we have Nathan Byukusenge and Road Race in which we shall be represented by Adrien,” Bayingana explained.
“We decided to have Adrien instead of Hadi, after putting into consideration how the two are currently fairing in their respective teams. Statistics show that with Adrien, we have better chances.”
Niyonshuti who rides South African UCI Continental Team Dimension Data made his UCI European road race debut in August 2009 with his participation in the 2009 Tour of Ireland, becoming the first Rwandan cyclist to ride in the European professional peloton.