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By Richard Bishumba

Rwanda national cycling team will compete at the Grand Cycling Tour of Algeria, annual race series slated for March 4-28 in Algeria.

Rwanda Cycling Federation, (FERWACY), announced the final six-man team to represent the country at the three-week competition on Tuesday evening. The team includes youngster Samuel Mugisha, who will be making his debut in the senior team.

The team which is set to depart on March 1 will also include; Patrick Byukusenge (captain), Joseph Areruya, Joseph Biziyaremye, Jeremie Karegeya and Jean Claude Uwizeye.

The Algerian race series consists of a windy and mountaineous environment, along with a strong international field of teams, the challenge that Sterling Magnell's men need for steady progress as the team look to defend Tour du Rwanda crown later this year.

The race also gives Rwanda an opportunity for UCI points.

"Algeria offers us a variety of race days, an opportunity to put some of our younger talents in leadership roles.

Flat, windy racing often results in a sprint finish or a game of strategy rewarding the smartest, not necessarily the strongest team," Magnell told Times Sport on Wednesday.

The American trainer added, "The terrain in Rwanda is perfect for producing strong athletes but does not lend itself as much in terms of tactical and strategic racing as Algeria does. This is a great chance for our boys to prove their aptitude on the continent once again."

"Every race we do this year internationally, like Algeria, is a precious occasion to hone skills and perfect how to use the wind, the power of numbers and each individual rider's unique expertise to break the race open," Magnell stated.

Simon Hupperetz will step in for Jonathan Boyer as technical director of the team in Algeria-the delegation will also include Jamie Bissell (mechanic) and Obed Ruvogera (physiotherapist).

Team Rwanda will head to Algeria straight from competing in the Continental Road Championship scheduled for February 21-26 in Casablanca, Morocco.

Continental Championship

Rwanda will be represented by a total of eleven riders, the largest contingency of Rwandan cyclists at a continental race since 2010 when the country hosted the Road Championship.

The 11-member squad includes eight U23/Elite men, two juniors (boys) and one female respectively.

The Men's elite team is comprised of Valens Ndayisenge, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, Patrick Byukusenge, Jean Claude Uwizeye, Joseph Areruya, Jeremie Karegeya and Joseph Biziyaremye. Samuel Mugisha will compete in the U23 category.

The junior men's category is comprises of Fidel Ally Dukuzumuremyi and Rene Ukiniwabo while Jeanne d'Arc Girubuntu will be the only female rider on the team for the week-long competition.

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