Rwanda Cycling Federation chairman Aimable Bayingana is pleased with the progress of Tour du Rwanda in the last three years, which has seen the race rank among the top three in Africa.
It is the fourth time for Rwanda to organise the big event since it started counting as a UCI Africa continental race after the Tour du Faso and Tour du Morocco.
Bayingana said he is pleased by the level of Rwandan riders and the organisations. He added that the aim is to reach Tropical Amiss Bongo (Tour du Faso) which is number one on the continent.
"It is one thing we have to be proud of as in three years we have reached the level of other big tournaments in Africa and I believe this edition will be better," Bayingana told Times Sport.
He noted, "It is the fourth year that we are organising this competition with big teams taking part, and it's a nice challenge for us. Our riders have the opportunity to compete against the best on the continent."
The long-week competition, which gets underway on Sunday, will cost an estimated Rwf400m, Rwf100m more than last year's, according to Bayingana.
This year's event has attracted sponsorship from the Ministry of Sports and Culture (Minispoc), Western Union, Cogebank, Skol Bear, Cogear, EWSA, Rwanda National Lottery (LOTTO), Europe Car, Inyange Industries, Brussels Airlines, Canal Plus, Radio 10 and TV Cinq Monde.
Meanwhile, the President of Confederation of African Cycling (Confederation Africaine de Cyclisme) Dr. Mohamed Wagih Azzam will officially flag off the competition on Sunday at Amahoro stadium.
Team Rwanda coach Jonathan Boyer has named the 12 riders for the two teams, which will represent the host country in the competition, 'Team Rwanda Akagera' and 'Team Rwanda Karisimbi'.
'Team Rwanda Akagera' has Nicodem Habiyambere, Gasore Hategeka, Jacque Mbarushimana, Jean Bosco Nsengiyumva, Hassan Rukundo and Bonavanture Uwizeyimana.
'Team Rwanda Karisimbi' will be led by the country's top cyclist Adrien Niyonshuti, Nathan Byukusenge, Abraham Ruhumuriza, Janvien Hadi, Joseph Biziyaremye and Emmanuel Rudahunga.
Cyclists will cover 876 kilometres
The 2012 Tour du Rwanda will cover a total of 876 kilometres split into eight stages. The seventh stage is the longest in the whole tour, Rubavu to Kigali (156.5 km), and the shortest stage is the second one, Kigali to Muhanga (44.1 km).
A total of 90 cyclists from 15 teams from across the world and 15 teams, (2 pro teams, 7 African national teams, 4teams from other continents and 2 Rwandan teams).
African National Teams are from Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Morocco, Algeria, Cameroun, Gabon and South Africa.
Teams from other continent: Team Quebecor Garneau (Canada), Team Reine Blanche Rhone Alpes (France), Equipe Regionale de la Reunion (France), Team AVIA Flanders (Belgique) and SANOFI Team Type 1 (USA).
2012 Tour du Rwanda Stages
Stage 1: Kigali - Nyagatare
Stage 2: Kigali- Muhanga
Stage 3: Muhanga - Huye
Stage 4: Huye - Karongi
Stage 5: Muhanga - Musanze
Stage 6: Musanze - Rubavu
Stage 7: Rubavu - Kigali
Stage 8: Kigali - Kigali
Since was added on the UCI calendar
- 2009: Adil Jelloul (Morocco)
- 2010: Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eritrea)
- 2011: Kiel Reijnen (USA)