- Posted by Velorama-Admin
- On June 21, 2017
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We are proud to announce that Team Rwanda Cycling has accepted an invitation to participate in our inaugural Colorado Classic, marking its first appearance in a Union Cycliste Internationale-sanctioned race of this caliber in the United States. Team Rwanda was founded in 2007 by a group of cycling-industry legends and friends after watching some amazing raw talent compete at the first Wooden Bike Classic in 2006. Since then, they have exponentially grown the sport of cycling in Rwanda, a country torn apart in the 1994 Genocide and never a cycling force on the continent.
“Part of our vision for the Colorado Classic and the accompanying Velorama Festival is to highlight ‘the power of the bike’ to bring people together, improve health, and build stronger communities,” said David Koff, CEO of RPM Events Group, the organization formed to put on the race. “Team Rwanda Cycling is an amazing example of how bikes can help transcend differences and transform lives. We are extremely pleased to host them in the return of pro cycling to the state.”
“We have assembled a team of professional cyclists who now race competitively on the international stage and, in so doing, have become strong ambassadors for Rwanda,” said Team Rwanda founder Jock Boyer. “They give others, both nations and people in conflict, hope.”
Team Rwanda was initially coached by Boyer who, in 1981, became the first American to compete in the Tour de France. With assistance from the Rwandan government and the Rwandan Cycling Federation, Boyer and Kimberly Coats have grown the team to the point where it now fields more than 35 cyclists — men and women — in all levels and disciplines.
Team Rwanda’s first six years were chronicled in the award-winning documentary “Rising From Ashes,” narrated by Forest Whitaker. That film culminated with Team Rwanda’s Adrien Niyonshuti, after narrowly missing out on one of seven Olympic road race spots awarded to African riders, qualifying for the 2012 London Olympic Games in mountain biking.
Most recently, Joseph Areruya, who came up through the program, won a stage at the 2017 U23 Giro D’Italia, marking the first stage win by a Rwandan at a UCI race.
“For over 30 years, Thorne has quietly been dedicated to enhancing the health and well-being of people around the world”, said Paul Jacobson, CEO of Thorne. “We are honored to be working with Team Rwanda. At Thorne, we don’t subscribe to a one size fits all approach, but rather a one size fits one approach. This allows us to look scientifically at each person by testing their blood, genetics and microbiome through our sister company, WellnessFX, and using those results to provide nutrition and supplement recommendations that are scientifically formulated, rigorously studied, clinically researched, and NSF Certified for Sport®. We look forward to walking with Team Rwanda on their journey.”
Team Rwanda plans to compete in at least one U.S. race as a tune-up to the Colorado Classic and will begin its training in Colorado on Aug. 1.
Their contingent in the Colorado Classic will be led by Jean Claude Uwizeye, 23, who competed at the 2016 World Championships in Doha, and will also feature Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, 24, the current Rwandan National Champion.
Their inclusion in the upcoming Colorado Classic brings to 15 the number of men’s teams that have agreed to participate in the Aug. 10-13 stage race.
For more details, please see our full press release here.