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Monday, 29 December 2014

Ndayisenga makes top five in race for continental award

Reigning Tour du Rwanda champion Valens Ndayisenga has been named among the final five cyclists in contention for the 2014 African cyclist of the year award.

The jury chaired by Bernard Hinault, five-time winner of the Tour de France, announced the five finalists that include Ndayisenga, last year’s winner Louis Meintjes from South Africa, 2012 winner Natnael Berhane of Eritrea, 2014 African champion Mekseb Debesay from Eritrea and Moroccan Mouhssine Lahsaini.

“This means so much to me and most importantly, I am honoured to be representing my country. This took a lot of teamwork, commitment and determination,” said Ndayisenga in an interview with Times Sport.

Ndayisenga, who is also currently ranked sixth on the continent, made the original 15-man list that also included fellow country-mate Bonaventure Uwizeyimana.

Uwizeyimana became the first African to win a stage at the gruesome La Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon from Lambaréné to Kango, a distance of 143km that he clocked in 3:16:31 earlier this year.

Meanwhile, 20-year old Ndayisenga became the first Rwandan to win the Tour du Rwanda since its inception in the UCI Africa Tour calendar in 2009.

This is the second year in a row that Ndayisenga is being nominated for the coveted continental award as last year he was on the 24-man shortlist alongside teammate Janvier Hadi.

Back then, Hadi had won bronze at the Africa continental championships in Egypt and Ndayisenga at 19 was the youngest rider to win a stage at the Tour du Rwanda.

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