Team Rwanda

CYCLING HAS A COMEBACK STORY. IT JUST HAPPENS TO BE IN AFRICA.

Team is Team

In 2007, during the Tour of Rwanda opening stages the Team Rwanda riders began to realize the top winner won the most money. For a couple of stages they were in a complete tangle. They were getting greedy and fighting for themselves. Adrien at one stage broke down into tears after the race, as they were all trying to do things on their own, and they wouldn’t work together. Rafiki, one of the original team members, got the team together, and they worked out that any money they won would be split evenly. The next stage was a huge turning point. After the race, Rafiki says on camera in a moment that has now become a rallying cry for our organization… “Team is Team.” All these accomplishments—every single milestone—was made possible by the generous contribution of donors who were willing to dream with us and take on the impossible.

Kigali map

Team Rwanda Facts

Cyclist Training
6 days/week – 2-5 hours/day

Sleeping
8 hours/night

Eating
3 times/day

Cyclists
18-22 total
6 for international rides

Ages
17-33

Races
100 races in 5 years

Salary
$100/month

Team Rwanda Awards

  • 5 stage wins in Tour of Cameroon.
  • 1 stage win in Tour of Rwanda.
  • Adrien came in 3rd in Namibia at the Continental Championships 2009 and 3rd in this year’s CC in Mauritius mountain bike.
  • Abraham won this year’s Kwita Izina.

Team Staff

Jean de Dieu Uwimana

Jean de Dieu "Rafiki" Uwimana

One of the original five of Team Rwanda. Raced professionally until 2013. He is now Team Rwanda’s apprentice mechanic, having studied at the UCI in Switzerland and with two French and one American mechanic in Rwanda. He is the father of a Kinyarwanda/American slang English five year old named Jonathan. Jonathan has already perfected his winning form for the 2030 Tour de France.

Obed Ruvogera

Obed Ruvogera

Affectionately known as the 6th Team Rwanda, man of Team Rwanda, Obed joined shortly after the original five were selected. His nickname during his racing career was Gasoil, as he had the power and stamina of a diesel locomotive. Obed retired from racing in 2012 and has trained in yoga and massage in the US and South Africa and now works as Team Rwanda’s massage therapist. He has one son, Evode, and is currently building his first house.

Felix Safari

Felix Safari

Felix is Team Rwanda's Camp Director and Project Manager of Africa Rising Cycling Centre. Felix has been with the Team for over 5 years and continues to take on additional responsibilities including coaching classes with the UCI in Rwanda and Tanzania. He is married with one young son, Kelvin.

Jonathan Boyer

Jonathan "Jock" Boyer is the coach of Team Rwanda Cycling. Jock was the first American to ride in the Tour de France in 1981. He came to Rwanda in 2006 as a guest of Tom Ritchey to assist with a local race. At that race they spotted talent like Adrien and in February 2007, he moved to Rwanda and has grown the program every year.

Hilary Crowley

Hilary Crowley

Hilary has been a professional fundraiser for more than13-years, having raised money for causes such as environmental science, early and higher-education, contemporary art and economic development projects. Her specialization is in strategic planning and implementation of both policy and fundraising initiatives.

Kimberly Coats

Kimberly Coats

Kimberly Coats - – Kimberly joined Team Rwanda in 2009 as a volunteer. An avid cyclist, lifelong fitness and good nutrition lover, and chronic organizer, she has taken on all these tasks with the team. As the only woman on the ground in Rwanda with all the boys, she is known as Mukeciro (old lady…term of respect and endearment in the Rwandan culture)

Jamie Bissell

Jamie Bissell

Jamie Bissell – Jamie joined the team prior to the 2013 Tour of Rwanda. Jamie was a former Shimano support crew member and brings a wealth of knowledge to the team. He is also a patient and committed teacher for Rafiki. Jamie is from the US but calls every place home. He’s a serious traveler having lived abroad for most of his life.

Felix Sempoma

Felix Sempoma

Felix Sempoma – Felix is the club President of Benediction Cycling Club based out of Gisenyi, Rwanda. Benediction Cycling Club is home to the Rwandan national champion, Gasore Hategeka. Felix has been working with Team Rwanda for several years and has taken UCI coaching courses in Rwanda and Egypt. He is a committed student of cycling and a cyclist himself. Recently, he led the team to their best performance at the 2014 Tour of Amissa Bongo in Gabon.

© Rising From Ashes Foundation 2014.  Photo credits.  Created with NationBuilder.