Renus Uhiriwe, 20, is ready to race for the Rwandan national team in the forthcoming Tour du Rwanda before heading to Europe to join his UCI Continental Team Qhubeka (www.TeamQhubeka.com) squad headquartered in Italy.
He’s on a familiar route for promising young African riders, who want to build a name for themselves at home before moving on to the next level, with their sights set on one day competing at the top level.
Renus took the time to tell us a little more about himself and his plans for the future while preparing for the race.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your family and where you’re from.
I’m from Rwanda, something that I’m incredibly proud of, and at home it’s my mother and sister and brother while I’m the youngest child.
Q: How did you become to be a cyclist?
My father used to ride a bike so I got his one when I was still young and I liked it very much; after which he then bought me a small bike. My home is near the Africa Rising Cycling Centre and I saw the cyclists passing my home, going to the centre for training.
I really just enjoyed riding my bike and eventually got to train with the national team, and it went from there. In my first race I won the Rwandan Championships, so that confirmed to me that it was my talent; I started to race my bike more regularly and decided it was my dream. The bicycle has literally changed my life.
Q: Who is your cycling hero?
I have many cycling heroes. As I’m a sprinter, I like Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish but then I also have other heroes in Tadej Pogacar and also Egan Bernal. I also am a big fan of Giacomo Nizzolo who used to race for our team, and always showed such tremendous fight. As a sprinter I want to do well here in Africa but also, importantly, in Europe.
Q: What is your cycling goal?
My ultimate goal is to win races in Europe and then to graduate to the World Tour. But first is to win races in Africa – it would be a huge moment for Rwanda and also a big step in my cycling career. I could, potentially, be the first Rwandan to win a stage at the Tour du Rwanda since it’s been classified as a UCI 2.1 event.
Q: How proud are you to represent Rwanda on the global stage?
I am extremely proud to represent my country – it means everything to me – and I have set myself a goal of winning a stage at the Tour du Rwanda which would be amazing for our country.
Q: The 2025 UCI World Championships are in Rwanda, will you be there?
I really hope that I will be at the 2025 World Championships. That is my goal and my target. It would be amazing to race on my home roads in front of our incredible, proudly representing Rwanda. This will be an amazing moment for our continent and for cycling.
Q: What is your message to young Rwandan cyclists, and other riders from Africa, who want to emulate you in travelling to Europe to race your bike?
Young riders need to work hard and to love what they do. For young African riders to have the opportunity to race in Europe is extremely important, so my message is that they need to focus and love racing their bikes.