Team Novo Nordisk has lined up a strong squad with a mission of replicating the success achieved in 2018 when Spaniard David Lozano took the victory on the penultimate stage and four Top-3 placings.
Team Novo Nordisk from USA is the first foreign team to arrive in Rwanda. Underlining the ambition to race competitively, Team Novo Nordisk is currently acclimatizing at the Africa Rising Cycling Center in Musanze District since last week.
The eight-stage Tour du Rwanda race, which has been promoted to UCI 2.1 category is scheduled to start in Kigali City on Sunday and will once again again feature a predominantly mountainous course.
The Team Novo Nordisk Senior Vice President of Athletics Vassili Davidenko said recently,“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,”
“We all look forward to racing at the Tour du Rwanda again. Our training camp will give us a chance to adapt to the higher elevations and recon some of the key stages,” added Davidenko.
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 Changing Diabetes 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.”
“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’!”
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.