Team Rwanda: will Africans dominate professional road cycling in the future?

Jean Nyakayiru, Lex B. Verdijk, Naomi M. Cermak, Luc J. C. van Loon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Kenya-born cyclist Chris Froome has once again won the Tour de France. Although the current title-holder is not a native Kenyan, some believe that the multiday stage race will one day be won by a cyclist with East-African roots. In 2015, the world got a glimpse of what might become a common sight in future editions of the Tour. The latest edition of the event introduced MTN-Qhubeka (currently known as Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka) as its first professional African cycling team ever to participate. The team's Eritrean cyclist Daniel Teklehaimanot exceeded all expectations by becoming the first native African to win the King of the Mountains classification of Criterium du Dauphine, as well as by claiming the polka dot jersey in the early stages of the tour a few weeks later. But are riders such as Daniel Teklehaimanot and his Rwandan team-mate Adrien Niyonshuti the first of many native Africans who will soon be dominating professional road cycling? Besides the fact that most African countries lack a well-embedded cycling culture, with the exception of Daniel Teklehaimanot's Eritrea, do native African cyclists have what it takes to become elite cyclists? To the best of our knowledge, no data have yet been published on the performance capacity of African cyclists. This report presents unique performance data collected from four cyclists from the National Road Cycling Team of Rwanda.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-828
Number of pages2
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - May 2017



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