Rwanda?s top female cyclist Jeanne d?Arc Girubuntu will compete in the World Cycling Championships scheduled for September 22-29 in Richmond, USA.

The 19-year-old rider will become the first Rwandan female to compete at the international cycling scene, and she is likely to attract interest from professional teams across the world, especially from the USA and Europe.

?For Jeanne d?Arc to go to the World Championships this year will be very important because she will become the first Rwandan woman ever to race at the World Championships,? explained Kimberly Coats, the head of marketing and logistics at Team Rwanda Cycling

She noted that, ?It will put her on the international stage because there will be many women and coaches from professional teams who will see her and we hope that she does really well and can get a spot on a professional team.?

The Rwamagana-born rider is currently training at the World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland where she has impressed head coach Jean-Jacques Henry who has pointed out her improved descent over the past two months that he has worked with her.

Excelling in Europe

Girubuntu finished second in the Prix de Vuillecin earlier this week while riding on the International Cycling Union (UCI) team, seconds behind Vietnamese Thi That Nguyen. The race attracted 25 girls who rode 35 laps on a 1.6 km circuit.

The teenage sensation beat 23 other riders from European teams including Chambery Competition, VC Morteau Montbenoit, Velo Club du Velay, US Giromagny (France), VC Pontarlier among others.

Team Rwanda head coach Jonathan ?Jock? Boyer hailed her effort,

?It will be a very great experience for her and will give her an idea how hard it is to race at that level. She is training in Switzerland now which gives her a lot of race experience.? Boyer said.

Girubuntu is a two-time national champion who has represented Rwanda twice at the African continental cycling championships, finishing sixth at this year?s edition.

Usher Komugisha, The New Times

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