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Tour of Rwanda postponed until May due to COVID-19 pandemic

The Tour of Rwanda has become a hugely popular event since it was re-introduced in 2001 following the Central African country’s civil war
Tour of Rwanda (Image credit: Tour of Rwanda)

The 2021 Tour of Rwanda has been postponed until May due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The race was due to take place from February 21-28 but has now been rescheduled for May 2-9, subject to confirmation by the UCI.

Israel Start-Up Nation were the lone WorldTour team slated to take part in the race, while ProTeams Total Direct Energie, B&B Hotels p/b KTM, Team Novo Nordisk and Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec had also confirmed their participation.

In a statement on Friday, Rwandan Cycling Federation president Abdallah Murenzi said that the event had been postponed “in view of the current global situation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the many uncertainties that do not allow us to envisage the organization of the Tour of Rwanda in the best conditions.”

Murenzi added that the Tour of Rwanda has been rescheduled for May 2-9, “subject to the forthcoming validation of the dates by the UCI” and that preparations for the event are “actively ongoing.” The route of the eight-day race features some 16,347 metres of total climbing.

The UCI 2.1 stage race is the latest early-season event to be postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon has been postponed to a later date, while the Tour Down Under, Bay Crits, Great Ocean Race and Herald Sun Tour have been cancelled in Australia, as well as the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina. In Spain, Challenge Mallorca has been postponed until May, while the organisers of the Vuelta a Murcia are also weighing the prospect of rescheduling their race.

On Friday, the UCI announced that the junior men’s and women’s races will not be held at the Cyclo-cross World Championships in Ostend, though the under-23 and elite races will go ahead as planned.

Previously a fixture in November, the 2018 Tour of Rwanda took place in August and the past two editions of the race were held in February. The 2020 Tour of Rwanda was won by Natnael Tesfatsion of Eritrea, who signed for Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec ahead of this season.