Adrien Niyonshuti has renewed his contract with MTN-Qhubeka (to be named Dimension Data next year) until the end of 2016. The confirmation of the Rwandan brings the team’s roster up to 26 riders, 12 of whom are from the African continent.
“I am very happy to stay with the team for another year, it is another great opportunity for me. With the news coming out of the team possibly moving up to WorldTour, I knew I really wanted to continue with the team again,” Niyonshuti said in a team press release. “Being the first Rwandan to race at that level is a goal I had always looked forward to. I have spent some good time home in Rwanda and with my academy and they give me much motivation for the new season. I am ready to work hard next season and help the team where ever I can.
“With a rider like [Mark] Cavendish joining our team, who I have known since 2010, it will help our team to move up a level and I am happy that this can also help me to take the next step in my career.”
Niyonshuti, 28, began his career in mountain biking, in which he competed at the 2012 Olympic Games, and has been riding with the MTN-Qhubeka team since 2009. His rise into professional cycling was documented in Tim Lewis’ book 'Land of Second Chances'.
He is a two-time winner of his national race the Tour of Rwanda and is the only rider from Rwanda to be competing at Pro Continental or WorldTour level. Niyonshuti had hoped to make his Grand Tour debut at this year’s Vuelta a Espana but instead rode the Tour du Poitou Charentes in France followed by a series of one-day races in Italy.
“We are extremely happy that Adrien will continue to ride for us. He's a true ambassador of the sport. Since he joined our team as a MTB rider, he has transitioned to a valuable road racer,” said team manager Doug Ryder.
“Adrien took part in the 2012 London Olympics and some of the biggest road events in the world. In his home nation Rwanda he set up his own academy where he shares his experience to support the future of Rwandan cycling. His profile in world cycling is a great addition to our African team and we look forward to his contributions in the months to come.”