KIGALI, 4 May 2021 – Rwanda is the firm favorite to host the first UCI World Championships on African soil, according to a majority of bookmakers.
The roots of “Tour du Rwanda” (cycling race), which closes in Kigali next Sunday, date back to 1988.
It was billed to be a regional race before it was elevated to the international UCI calendar in 2008.
This year’s race was postponed from February to May, in an effort to minimize the spread of the new coronavirus.
UCI President David Lappartient is visiting Rwanda since Monday and held talks at the Rwandese State House “The Village) shortly after his arrival in the country.
Lappartient refused to say which, of the two African countries in the running – Rwanda or Morocco – will host the world road championships.
The cities of Kigali (Rwanda) and Tangier (Morocco) are in the running as host cities.
“The World Championship will take place in Africa in 2025, that’s for sure,” Lappartient told the Paris-based sports magazine, L’Equipe, waving concerns that the COVID-19 pandemic may still be around.
In 2019, the UCI invited bids from African nations, leading to Rwanda and Morocco throwing their hats into the ring.
One of them will win, marking the first time the continent would host the Worlds, and only the eleventh time a non-European nation has done so.
Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY) President Abdallah Murenzi is leading the organizing committee and is using the ongoing “Tour du Rwanda” to try to impress as much as possible.
The magazine says Rwanda is the clear favorite to win.
“It’s a candidacy that ticks a lot of boxes,” L’Equipe magazine wrote, noting that bringing cycling to Rwanda, which has rebuilt remarkably following the 1994 genocide, would lend “a sense of renewal to cycling” as well.
Sports commentators have also praised Rwanda for doing the hard work.
“Their case is very solid with already existing infrastructure and enormous possibilities for adaptation,” L’Equipe wrote.
Teams from UCI will visit Rwanda and Morocco in the summer to study the technical details of their bids.
The official announcement of the winning city will be made next September in Louvain, Belgium, during the 2021 UCI World Championship.