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A total of 13 female riders are currently training at the Musanze-based Africa Rising Cycling Center (ARCC) as they are prepare to form the continent’s first all-black female professional cycling team.
The development was confirmed to Times Sport on Monday by Kimberly Coasts, the ARCC and Team Rwanda head of Marketing and Logistics.
The 13 riders include two Rwandans, five Eritreans as well as six Ethiopians, and have been training in Musanze since July 7 with the objective to create an all-black female professional cycling team, which will be part of the UCI World Tour, starting 2017.
“It is still early, we do not yet have all that we need to create and maintain the team. Currently, I am identifying and approaching potential sponsors, particularly in the United States,” Kimberly said in a telephone interview.
A statement from the ARCC reads, “The purpose of the training camp is to assess talent for a potential all black African women’s professional team (women’s elite/world tour). The team would be formed for the 2017 season; training and racing would start in March 2017.”
Among key skill assessments that the 13 riders are undergoing is climbing ability, sprinting, descending, bike handling, physical fitness and flexibility (yoga). Rwanda’s leading female cyclist Jeanne d’Arc Girubuntu is among star trainees.
List of trainees
Magnifique Manizabayo and Jeanne d’Arc Girubuntu (Rwanda), Tigisti Yowhans Gebrhiwet, Wahazit Kidane Afewrki, Baire Wogahta Gebrehiwet, Debesay Mosana Abraham, Yohana Dawit Mengis (Eritrea), Dino Kelil Eyerusalem, Fkaddu Abrha Brhan, Eyeru Gebru Tesfoam, Takele Gelaye Fikreadis, Abera Furtuna Kasahun and Selam Amha Gerefiel (Ethiopia).