Rwandan cyclist Didier Munyaneza became the first Rwandan to win the 2019 Tour Du Senegal. Munanyeza successfully negotiated the seventh and final stage in a 10-lap circuit in Dakar to emerge top. He is the second black African to achieve this feat and the first since 2010.
Rwandan cyclist wins Tour du Senegal
Congratulations Didier Munyaneza for winning the 2019 Tour du Senegal! As the first Rwandan to win the race, you have represented your country well and made us all very proud. Félicitations et bravo! pic.twitter.com/26CZv1PTku
— Vincent Biruta (@Vbiruta) November 17, 2019
This is the first international victory for the 21-year old Rwanda cyclist. He hung onto Yellow Jersey from the second stage. After his victory, several people have lauded the achievement of the young cyclist. Even high ranking government officials also congratulated Munyaneza for making Rwanda proud by winning this year’s Tour Du Senegal.
One of the government officials who lauded Munyaneza’s achievement is Rwanda’s foreign affairs minister Vincent Biruta. He tweeted “Congratulations Didier Munyaneza for winning the Tour Du Senegal! As the First Rwandan to win the race, you have made our country proud. Felicitations et bravo!”
Munayneza was representing the only recognized cycling club in Rwanda, Benediction Excel Energy. The Rwandan cyclist succeeds Dan Craven crowned champion of the 17th edition of Tour Du Senegal last year. Ahead of the final 106km race, the Rwandan cyclist was leading second-placed Hermann by around 15 seconds. However, he managed to navigate the final round and stayed out of trouble although he had a tire puncture halfway the circuit. Interestingly he fixed the tire quickly and then re-joined the group.
Benediction’s first appearance in Tour du Senegal a success
The only other Rwandan cyclist in the top ten was Eric Manizabayo who was in 8th position. In the penultimate stage, Munyaneza had finished fifth in a group the included Hermann. Netherland’s Jan Andrej Cully had won the stage.
Munyaneza’s victory ends several years of failed attempts by Rwandan cyclists. All the previous editions were under the national team “team Rwanda.” However, this is his first appearance for Benediction Excel Energy. Benediction is the only internationally recognized Rwandan cycling club. For Munyaneza he wasn’t new to the Senegal circuit since he competed there in the 2018 edition. He emerged fifth in the best young cyclists’ classification in 2018.
Team Benediction’s fourth international race
However, this will be the fourth time the Rubavu-based team is participating in an international race since its registration. So far the Benediction team has participated in the 2019 Tour Du Rwanda and Tour De Limpopo in South Africa. Also, they took part in Tour de La RD Congo with Jean Claude Nzafshwanayo emerging the winner. Team’s roster for Tour du Senegal included Didier Munyaneza, Jean Claude Nzafashwanayi, and Eric Manizaabyo. Others included Patrick Byukusenege, Jean Bosco Nsengimana, and Yves Nkurunziza.
This year has been very busy for the Rwandan Cyclist both at the national team level and club level. So far Munyaneza has participated in eight international cycling races as well as several domestic races in the Rwanda Cycling Club. He also had a training camp in Japan for a whole month.