Team Rwanda coach Jonathan Boyer is optimistic as ever ahead of the 2013 La Tropicale Amissa Bongo International Cycling Tour slated for January 14-20 in Gabon.
The American trainer told this newspaper before departing on Thursday that his inexperienced team has prepared well for the first continental championship of the season.
"We're taking a young team without enough experience in such top class races, but I am optimistic about our chances to do well because we have prepared very well," Boyer told Times Sport
"It's going to be a tough competition but I have urged the guys (riders) to be positive after all they have nothing to lose," he added.
Team Rwanda will be making its third appearance in the annual competition and hope to better their performances in the previous editions.
Although the 550Km race is much shorter than the Tour du Rwanda (+800km), Boyer acknowledged, "We expect a very tough race from the more experienced teams."
The team, captained by Nathan Byukusenge, 33, is accompanied by coach Boyer, Team Mechanic Jimmy Lacroix, physical trainer Obed Ruvogera and head of the delegation Festus Bizimana.
Team members includes, Byukusenge, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, 20, Jean Bosco Nsengiyumva, 20, Jérémie Karegeya, 20, Hassan Rukundo, 23, and Valens Ndayisenga, 19.
This year's competition has attracted 15 teams from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Morocco and Rwanda.
Professional clubs expected to take part include; Europcar (France), Cofidis (France), Lampre-Merida (Italy), Lotto-Belisol (Belgium), Groupement Sportif Oil (Algeria) and Adrien Niyonshuti's side MTN-Qhubeka (South Africa).