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Team Rwanda: will Africans dominate professional road cycling in the future?
  1. Jean Nyakayiru1,
  2. Lex B Verdijk1,
  3. Naomi M Cermak1,
  4. Luc J C van Loon1,2
  1. 1NUTRIM—School of Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  2. 2Institute of Sports and Exercise Studies, HAN University of Applied Sciences, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Professor Luc J C van Loon, Department of Human Movement Sciences, Maastricht University Medical Centre, PO Box 616, Maastricht 6200 MD, The Netherlands; l.vanloon{at}


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 Critérium du Dauphiné, 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.

  • Athlete
  • Endurance
  • Performance

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