Race: Tour du Rwanda (February 24-March 3, 2019)
Total Distance: 953.6 kilometers
Race Class: UCI 2.1
Team Novo Nordisk will lineup for the 11th edition of Tour du Rwanda with a strong squad eager to replicate the success achieved in 2018 when Spaniard David Lozano took the victory on the penultimate stage and four Top-3 placings.
The eight-stage race, which has been promoted to UCI 2.1 category, starts in the capital Kigali on Sunday, February 24th and once again features a predominantly mountainous course. Underlining the ambition to race competitively in Rwanda, Team Novo Nordisk traveled to “the country of 1000 hills” 10 days before the start of the race to acclimatize to the altitude in the region and step up their final preparations.
“Last year we were very successful with David Lozano at the Tour Du Rwanda. David is a proven team leader, and we are coming back to the race with a roster built to support him and provide him with the opportunity to achieve top results,” said Team Novo Nordisk Senior Vice President of Athletics Vassili Davidenko. “Our training camp before the race will be held in Rwanda. We’ll have a chance to adapt to the higher elevations and recon some of the key stages. We all look forward to racing at the Tour du Rwanda again.”
The world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team will start the race with a mix of experienced riders and motivated neo-pros. Lozano lines up as the team leader and will be well supported by experienced teammates Joonas Henttala (FIN) and Emanuel Mini (ARG). Neo-pros Oliver Behringer (SUI) and Ulugbek Saidov (UZB) round-out the #ChangingDiabetes roster with the latter making his debut for Team Novo Nordisk after stepping up from the development squad.
“I’m really happy to be back in Rwanda after the successful 2018 edition! Last year I came to the race after almost one month of altitude training, but this year I’ll approach the race with a different preparation since it’s quite difficult to train at altitude in Europe during the winter months,” explained Lozano. “I had a solid pre-season training and I’ve been healthy so I’m looking forward to this race and to start the season with my teammates. They are all very committed and have shown to be in great shape.”
The 2019 edition of Tour du Rwanda promises to be the most competitive yet with the presence of one World Tour Team and four Pro Continental teams and will feature the longest stage ever in the history of the race: the grueling 213.1 kilometer Stage 3 from Huye to Rubavu.
Stage 5 from Karongi to Musanze (138.7km) will feature three Category 1 climbs and will be decisive for the general classification while the race will once again wrap up in Kigali on Sunday, March 3rd with a 63.7-km multi-lap circuit in the capital that features seven categorized climbs including three-times up the emblematic Kigali Wall.
“It’s the first race of the season and the altitude with play a big role but I’m optimistic that with our experience from last year’s performance we will adapt perfectly to the conditions,” said Lozano. “My goal for the race is to seek the best results for my team and me. We will work as a strong unit and set specific objectives during each stage. All of us are ready to race and face the challenges of the ‘land of the thousand hills’!”
Team Novo Nordisk Roster Tour du Rwanda (February 24-March 3): Oliver Behringer (SUI), Joonas Henttala (FIN), David Lozano (ESP), Emanuel Mini (ARG), Ulugbek Saidov (UZB)
Sport Director: Pavel Cherkasov (USA)