Monday, November 21, 2016

Rain, Cobblestones and Pure Emotions - Jean Bosco Moves up in GC

We already told a lot the last days about the incredible and enthusiastic atmosphere during this edition of Tour du Rwanda. But what happened today at the "wall of Kigali" was again much more we could ever expect.

A nation. A history. Surely not the easiest history, but what this generation of Rwandan's showed as emotion today, was much more we can even describe with words. Effusive, frenetic, even rollicking are the words we could try to describe this atmosphere today with and the fans cheered the riders on the "wall of Kigali" - an incredibly steep hill of 17% in the middle of Rwanda's capital.
Pictures that you never would expect in Germany or Europe - the so called "traditional cycling countries". But those pictures are real. The pictures in the same way as all the emotions. Not just people standing there watching an event that just passes by - no, not at all. These people are fans, enthusiastic and real fans of the sport - the sport of cycling and their heroes - the riders.
"After I worked a lot today I was in one of the last groups to save my energy for tomorrow but when I saw these people cheering us that way, I gave all I had again to climb this hill. I just felt I owe it to those people who came here, waited so long and now deserve that everybody gives the same as they did - incredible! I would love to see such pictures in Germany again", Matthias Schnapka explained after the race - obviously still flashed from such a lot emotion today.

But what happened in front of the race? Exactly one year ago it was Jean Bosco Nsengimana who won at the same place in solitude and secured the overall win of Tour du Rwanda 2015. And now? This year the dominator is Valens Ndayisenga. The man from Team Dimension Data - also Rwandan (and overall winner 2014) - climbed with an incredible performance and won the stage in front of his team mate Metkel Eyob from Eritrea.
Jean-Bosco Nsengimana finished in 8th place just 20 seconds down on Valens, and moved 1 place up in GC and now ranks 4th overall classification.
Just one more stage to go in Kigali tomorrow on a quite hard circuit race and the Tour du Rwanda 2016 will be in the books again. We are sure that the atmosphere will be great again!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Nsengimana Still in Reach - Tour du Rwanda

While Meron Amanuel took with his 7th place today another Top Ten result for STRADALLI - BIKE AID, the Rwandan Jean-Bosco Nsengimana stays in reach for the GC with just 1:27 down on leader Valens Ndayisenga

It is called the "country of the thousand hills" and that has a reason. Every day the guys have to fight with endless kilometers of uphill roads and suffer a lot on Rwanda's roads. While the African riders from Rwanda and Eritrea dictate the tempo in the hills, the European riders have to work very hard to follow them.
STRADALLI - BIKE AID rider Jean-Bosco Nsengimana knows the roads very well and is every day in the top of the race, so he currently ranks 4th in the GC with just 1.27 minute down on Valens Ndayisenga - also from Rwanda. The upcoming days will bring dramatic fight for the GC where Jean-Bosco will definitely have a word to say until the race finishes on Kigali's roads on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Meron Amanuel could show an impressive final today and sprint to a good 7th place when Rwandan rider Joseph Areruya took the stage win.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Meron Amanuel takes lead in KOM classification - Tour du Rwanda 1st stage

On today's first stage of Tour du Rwanda, Meron Amanuel from STRADALLI - BIKE AID took the lead in climbers classification while Jean-Bosco Nsengimana now ranks on 3rd in GC with 1 second behind.

After 96,4 hilly kilometers from Kigali to Ngoma, the Canadian Guillaume Boivin from Cycling Academy Team won the final sprint out of a 19 man front group that managed to break away 30 kilometers from the finish. Also in this group, STRADALLI - BIKE AID leader Jean - Bosco Nsengimana who came in with the same time and now sits on 3rd place overall with just 1 second down.
"Now it is a perfect situation for us and Bosco, as the gap is just 1 second and the responsibility to control the race is on the Rwandan team, so we can be relaxed and wait for the right time", Yves Beau (Sporting Director of STRADALLI - BIKE AID) said.
The Eritrean Meron Amanuel won the only KOM of the day and overtook the leaders jersey that he will wear on tomorrow's second stage.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Stradalli - Bike Aid Team to win Tour du Rwanda

Germany-based Stradalli–Bike Aid are very optimistic of becoming the second UCI Continental team to win Tour du Rwanda. Stradalli - Bike Aid pro cycling teams charge will be led by their Rwandan reigning champion Jean Bosco Nsengimana.
The 8th edition of the UCI-Africa Tour 2.2 race, slated for November 13-20, has been dominated by national teams since 2009 when it became part of the UCI Africa Tour, with United States-based Team Type 1–Sanofi the only UCI Continental team to have won it, back in 2011.
However, Stradalli- Bike Aid pro cycling which is among the four UCI Continental teams that will grace this year’s seven-stage showpiece, are confident that their star man, Nsengimana, who joined the club in June, can win the Tour for the second year in a row, provided he gets the support he needs from his teammates.
“For the Tour of Rwanda 2016, the goals of the team Stradalli- Bikeaid have a little bit changed; last year, we went for stage wins with Mekseb Debesay ( now world tour racer ) and Meron Amanuel. But this year, we have last year’s overall winner in our ranks and we will give him all the support we can for him to win the Tour again,” says the team manager.
"We hope that we can support Nsengimana the best way, the goals are set and the ambition is high. Seven hard days during the end of Tour du Rwanda will show us what we really can do.”
The 22-year old Nsengimana is currently training in Rwanda at Africa Rising Cycling Centre in Musanze District, along with the 15 local riders, who will represent Rwanda.
Among other competitors that will ride along Nsengimana includes Eritrean Meron Amanuel Mengstab (winner stage 2 and 6 of Tour du Rwanda 2012), Tanzanian Richard Laizer, Damien Garcia pro racer from France and Mathias Schnapka from Germany.
 Tour du Rwanda is very important for team Stradalli- bikeaid not only because we have Nsengimana, who can win it, but also because of the very special atmosphere and the huge enthusiasm by the locals and African racing overall 
This year’s edition will attract over 85 riders under 17 teams from different parts of the world. These include eight African national teams, four UCI continental teams, and five regional teams or clubs.
8 African national teams:
  • Team Rwanda
  • National Team of Kenya
  • National Team of Cameroon
  • National Team of South Africa
  • National Team of Ethiopia
  • National Team of Eritrea
  • National Team of Egypt
  • National Team of Algeria
4 UCI Continental Teams:
  • Dimension Data For Qhubeka (South-Africa)
  • Kenyan Riders Downunder (Kenya)
  • Cycling Academy Team (Israel)
  • Stradalli - Bike Aid (Germany)

Florida mountain biking in November

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The important thing was taking part STRADALLI – BIKE AID at 2016 Worlds in Doha, Qatar

At this year's UCI World Championship in Doha, Qatar, Team STRADALLI – BIKE AID finished on 17th place.

It was the World Championships. The one and only official UCI Road World Championships, held in Doha, Qatar, where every year the fight for the famous rainbow-jersey takes part. This unique and wonderful jersey that stands for the best rider in the world.

Among this spectacle it was again a „small squad“ from Germany in the middle that already surprised a lot during the past 3 years in the world of procycling. Also this time, as not any single person estimated STRADALLI – BIKE AID participating at this year's Worlds. But also no one from the team itself was even dream of that can happen. The excitement was on the edge already before going to Doha, only by receiving the permission to start there as a UCI continental team.

But how should all this now getting realized again, after having already so many races in the books, all over the world and just coming back from Tour of China only 5 days before leaving to Qatar again?

While other competing teams from the World Tour (highest category in world's cycling, budget about 10 to 30 million Euro), employ about 60 staff members around the riders, for a small team like STRADALLI – BIKE AID such an event means mostly: stress, sleepless nights, headache and night shifts to prepare all needed stuff to go to such an event.

Everyone who ever went on holiday with his family knows what it is all about and what things has to be taken into consideration to avoid chaos. But to move a whole team is so much more and demands so much from the involved person to make all this happen: preparing all TT bikes, wheels, discs, tires, packing all tolls (you travel with almost whole repair center), visa formalities, flight bookings, accommodation etc. etc.

The whole delegation of STRADALLI – BIKE AID was about 10 people, but also this was at the lower limit compared to teams like SKY who had actually more Staff as the whole delegation of

And every time again there are things happening you can not take into consideration but they turn an easy travel day into an emotional roller-coaster and an unforgettable event. Even more when you have riders from Africa in your team you must expect everything as the authorities very often make things not so easy.

This time it was Meron Teshome who stood without any bad feelings at the check in counter, presenting his passport, baggage already tagged and transferred but then: "Stop! Your Visa for Qatar", the lady mentioned. After lot of explanations that he is going to the UCI World Championships and the Visa is already issued and waiting at Qatar Airport (same like for everyone else) there was just an indifferent: "no way. You stay here, you can take your baggage in one hour there and there".

Meron had tears in his eyes as it was his first Wolrds in Elite so far and a dream that came true after a season he really worked hard and deserved it. Leaving Meron behind? No way.

After lots of phone calls with the local authorities in Qatar, they sent a confirmation and a copy of the issued visa by messenger to the smartphone. Filled with hope, the boys went to the counter, presenting the Visa and that everything is as it has to be. "No, we need it printed!" (what is the difference?) After another challenge, to print the message and Visa out and another presentation at the desk, the quality of the print was not sufficient. Now they wanted to have a new document officially sent to their email address. Did they really do all to avoid Meron's travel? Sometimes things are not logic and fair, but one for sure: not human!

After again many phone calls the queue at the desk got smaller and smaller and the time to the departure also. The hope that Meron will join us got smaller in the same way. But all of a sudden and after several discussions they received the email from Qatar and accepted the Visa. Meron was in!

When the guys arrived in Qatar, one thing was already clear: it will be hot the upcoming days. Even more than expected and the humidity was still very high even in the night. 42 Celsius was the temperature next day when the guys went out for ride and they could start to imagine how it should be at the race.

But everybody was highly motivated and worked so hard to make this come true, now they wanted to face all these challenges. But in the race it came a little different and the expected performance could not being delivered by the riders.

17th place at the end – from 17. What sounds very terrible in the beginning changes into something different at the 2nd view. It changes more into joy, as disappointment.

Joy, being part of the World Championships, as there are more than 200 professional teams worldwide.

Joy, about the unique opportunity to challenge the best teams in the World, both teams like SKY, BMC ore Etixx-Quickstep who have so much more budget available as the "small German team".

But also joy, that the social background of the team was again in the focus of the press and the team could tell again a different story about how it is possible to change something (article in the Gulftimes)

Most important thing is taking part – this time more than ever, because despite all ambitions and sacrifices the boys did throughout this year and all the good results the team earned in 2016 season – to be at the start of the World Championships is not an everyday thing!