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Cycling: Nkurunziza pedals off Tour du Burundi


Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza on Tuesday flagged off the country’s annual cycling event Tour du Burundi. Nkurunziza himself took part in the first few kilometres of the race which attracted over 30 professional cyclists and 50 enthusiasts.

Cyclists pedaled off at the capital of Burundi’s Ngozi Province north of the country where they will cycle a distance of 125 km to the capital Bujumbura.

“Where there is peace, there is joy. We thank the organizers of this race for having chosen the holiday season. It is a good opportunity to celebrate Christmas with all Burundians,” said President Nkurunziza.

The 527-kilometer race will last five days, where winners will be awarded in Gitega for the top five finishers in the professional and amateur categories, and to three winners in the general classification.

On the second day, cyclists will make 123km from Bujumbura-Nyanza Lac south of the country, where they will leave on December 13 for Bukirasazi in the province of Gitega in central Burundi after having traveled 125 km from from Nyanza Lac.

On the 4th day on December 14 the race will make 101 km between Bukirasazi and Cankuzo east of the country.

From Cankuzo, the organizers have planned to move all cyclists and their bicycles in vehicles to the capital of Karusi Province in central Burundi where they will spend a night of rest before making the final leg between Karusi and the main town of Gitenga Province which is the final destination, a distance of 53 km.

However there were safety concerns raised by some cyclists.

“The safety was not assured because there were trucks along the road, and among us there are those who were injured, which is why third place does not satisfy me at all because I was a favorite to win this race,” Ciza Obed a cyclist said.