Since 2007, Jonathan Boyer has been instrumental in the growing success of Rwandan cycling with his role as manager of the national team.
Through his involvement with the team and sport as a whole, Rwandan cycling has made significant progress with the national tour garnering a UCI 2.2 ranking since 2009, Adrien Niyonshuti qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games in mountain biking, and culminating with Joseph Biziyaremye (Team Rwanda) becoming the first Rwandan to win a stage at his home Tour since the event received a UCI sanction.
Cyclingnews' Pierre Carrey spoke to the 56-year-old American ex-professional during the recent Tour of Rwanda about his role as a coach and mentor for the riders. "There was talent here and people who could really benefit from being given a chance, especially Adrien [Niyunshuti]," said Boyer. "The bike is a way of mediation for some. I know that Adrien rides his bike because it definitely helps his past bad memories. The bike has been a vehicle of healing for many of the riders."
Boyer talks about the progress the riders have made, his plans for assisting Niyonshuti in his build-up to the Olympics, and the possibility of creating a UCI Continental team.
Boyer also talks about his days racing in Europe as a professional in the late 1970s-early 1980s, during which in 1981 he became the first American to compete in the Tour de France. He finished 32nd overall while riding in support of Bernard Hinault, who won his third of five Tours that year.
"I just wanted to race, I just wanted to ride the Tour. It was an amazing race and it hasn't been until later that it really sunk in being a pioneer," said Boyer.
He also reflects on the contentious finish to the 1982 professional world championships in Goodwood, England in which his attack inside the final kilometre was neutralised by compatriot Greg LeMond.