LOOK News Archives
Team Rwanda : the story of a unique project
Team Rwanda was founded in 2006 after Jonathan “Jock” Boyer assisted with a local bike race and spotted some significant talent. He came to Rwanda the beginning of 2007 to test riders and started with an initial team of five. Team Rwanda has continued to gain momentum during the past five years and is now poised to take the next step as a truly competitive international cycling team. The foundation has been laid to continue developing current riders, as well as attracting new young riders who are positioned to help Team Rwanda reach the pinnacle of cycling, the Tour de France.
Team Rwanda Cycling searches for talent to empower, enable and to inspire not just individuals but families, communities and a nation through cycling. While bicycles are central to the lives of many Africans, competitive cycling is still a developing sport. Team Rwanda is among the leaders in bringing black African’s into the pro peloton.
These racers are former illiterate street kids, orphans or potato hauling farmers who by a stroke of chance and good fortune were identified as potential professional athletes and are now being cultivated as such. Through Team Rwanda’s programs, they now have support in the way of not just world-class coaching and training but also in health, nutrition, and in English language lessons. For the team’s elite racers, who have attended training camps in Switzerland and South Africa, their horizons have been broadened in unimaginable ways. Through Team Rwanda, the racers are no longer resigned to a life of being bike taxi’s or farm laborers, but coaches, managers, mechanics or a host of other professions previously unknown to them after their careers as professional cyclists are over. The Team is giving them opportunities that will far out-reach their careers as cyclists.
After five short years, the talent on the team now speaks for itself. From Adrien Niyonshuti’s qualifying for the 2012 Olympics in mountain biking (and subsequent pro contract with South African based MTN), to Joseph Biziyaremye’s dramatic win on the final stage of the Tour of Rwanda—the first stage win by a member of Team Rwanda at the Tour of Rwanda, to the team’s first-year invitation to compete at the Tour of Rio in July of last year.
Rwanda—with its high-altitude and endless hills—is a hotbed for world class cyclists, IF the talent is identified and developed.
LOOK is proud to take part in these unique project on the African continent.