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Israel Start-Up Nation trains Rwanda cycling team

CM 02/09/2021

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Eight young women live on $30 dollars per week, but for eight days these riders from the Bugesera Cycling Team in Rwanda experienced a training camp that is usually reserved for professional cyclists.
Daily training provided by a qualified trainer, lectures given by professionals, educational sessions on bicycle fitting, bike mechanics, bike cleaning, team strategies in races, race simulations, nutrition advice from a professional chef, and sponsor products – Israel Start-Up Nation gave the full package to the BCT.
“We have never seen any of this in our lives before,” said Innocente Uwamahoro, the general secretary of the BCT.

“We learned so much and learned that there is so much more to learn,” added Laila Uwingabiri, one of the junior riders. “I felt like I was a professional cyclist these days.”
The riders from the Bugesera Women’s Cycling Team were overwhelmed in the beginning, but soon after realized that this was the chance of a lifetime to learn from a WorldTour cycling team.
“I filled up two notebooks in those eight days,” Uwingabiri said.
Eager they were, the women from BCT, dreaming of a career in professional cycling once they are older.
“This support and commitment from Israel Start-Up Nation means so much to us,” Uwamahoro stated at the end of the camp. “It completely changed our perspective on cycling.
“We now know how to train more accurately, how to analyze our training data, what to eat before, during and after training, make training schemes, and make adjustments to our bikes. Everything we learned was eye-opening.”
“If we didn’t believe in their capabilities, we would not have organized all of this,” said Shaul Hatzir, an Israeli businessman in Rwanda.
“We believe in the future of the Bugesera Cycling Team and for the second time in our #RacingForChange project, they have proved they are worth the effort.”
In addition, not only the women from the BCT will be able to train more accurately and efficiently. But all the kids living in Bugesera have the chance to ride bikes and train, as ISN donated over fifty bikes to the community.
Liliane Kayirebwa, the coordinator of the women’s cycling team, said: “With this support, we can grow our team. Every time the children want to ride a bike, they can come to our club and we will lend them a kit and a bike, so they can enjoy riding.
“We will pass on the knowledge we gained to the younger kids, by organizing a weekly training on the road.”
Around 50 children from the area came to the first session with the new bikes. ISN’s trainers Awet Gebremedhin, Tal Alon, and Sjors Beukeboom, taught them the basics of riding.
The event was an emotional one for Kayiirebwa.
“We can finally introduce the children of Bugesera to the sport we all love so much.
“From now on, we can ride altogether. We will look like a peloton of cyclists. I am very much looking forward to that. I hope the children from Bugesera will become as excited about bikes as us.”
Alon enjoyed training the eight women and is looking forward to giving training sessions to a bigger group of riders in the future.
“The cyclists were so curious and competitive. Their response was great, and they learned quickly. It was inspiring to work together on their futures. I will continue to support them once I am back in Israel, because I believe in their capabilities and I think they deserve every single chance to chase their dreams.”
Gebremedhin agreed with Alon.
“In the beginning, I was surprised by their strength. Tests we did throughout the week confirmed their power. Some of the girls are really talented. I am very happy we could help them to improve their training in the future. They should dream big, especially given their mental and physical strength.”
Beukeboom, involved in the #RacingForChange program since the beginning, was thrilled with the experience.
“I felt like we really made a difference here, an impact. If I compare the knowledge and skills of the women from the day I saw them for the first time, with their knowledge and skills after this second training camp, I see a huge improvement. Their rapid development gave a lot of energy and motivation, every day again.
“We inspired each other, and we changed each other’s lives. Israel Start-Up Nation is committed to the continued collaboration with the BCT, to make a difference and change their lives for the better.”
ISN’s #RacingForChange initiative has proven itself successful as it has quickly taken on a number of different projects. After a first visit to Rwanda and the BCT in May, it was announced that the team would begin its transition towards a fleet of “green” cars, exploring the opportunities to use zero-emission vehicles in the professional cycling peloton.
To support ISN’s #RacingForChange projects, fans and followers can buy match worn shirts from its riders currently active in the Vuelta a España. All proceeds made from the auctions go towards the team’s Racing for Change initiatives.
For more information, visit www.israelcyclingacademy.com

Source: Jerusalem Post

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