Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team will take on the Tour du Rwanda 2023, starting this Sunday, February 19th with a five-rider strong roster. The team is eager to race for the very first time in the African Continent, in a special race that will feature 20 teams, including seven ProTeams.

February 18 2023

The 15th edition of the Tour du Rwanda, arguably regarded as the top African road race, starts in the capital Kigali and will feature eight stages, most of them hilly. Throughout the race the peloton will face over 20.000 meters of climbing, most of which in altitude and high temperatures.

Carl Fredrik Hagen will make is racing debut for the team and is eager to represent the Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team jersey in the Land of the Thousand Hills. It will be the first time racing in Africa for the 31-year-old Norwegian but the ambition is to race competitively and come away with a good result.

“We have to race smart”

“I’m really looking forward to Tour du Rwanda. It will be my first time in Rwanda and in Africa and on paper looks like a really tough race. The parcours looks amazing but it’s very hilly and it’s all in altitude. We’re also expecting quite a bit of heat and humidity.  With only five rider teams it’s a special race. It’s not a World Tour race but for sure the level will be high. We have to race smart and have to remember it’s an eight-stage race, and anything can happen. As a team we’re going there with the goal of fighting for the overall victory. We have strong riders and we will be racing for memories but also for results. Personally, I hope my shape is good and I can have a good race. My Grandfather passed away recently and I’ll be racing in his memory,” said Hagen.

Mix of Experience & Youth

Swiss Matteo Badilatti returns to Tour du Rwanda for the 2nd time, having raced back in 2019 when he finished 3rd in the General Classification. Badilatti’s experience will enable him to provide valuable guidance to his teammates, particularly neo-pro Walter Calzoni who, after an impressive debut at the one-day races in Murcia and Jáen, will represent our colors in a stage-race for the first time.  

Italian Filippo Conca, who has shown good form in his first races of the season, will make is Tour du Rwanda debut and provide solid firepower across all terrains. Completing our roster is Eritrean Nahom Zeray Araya from Q36.5 Continental Team, who only last week took a solid 20th place in the African Continental Championships Road Race after a second place in the Team Time Trial with his Eritrean national team. 

As the flagship event of African cycling the Tour du Rwanda promises to be as spectacular as ever with an unprecedented big start in the heart of the new Golf of Kigali. The eight stages will cover very hilly terrain and will feature the climbs up Mount Kigali and Wall of Kigali on the final, decisive stage. The parcours will also include sections of the course of the 2025 UCI Road World Championships which will take place in Rwanda. 

“We want to try and play a role in the GC”

“It’s going to be a challenging race, difficult to control since the teams only have a small roster of five riders. The course is very tough, with lots of climbing and at altitude. Our expectations are, as always, high. We want to try and play a role in the General classification and, if we can win a stage as well, even better. That being said we’re well aware that the level will be high with the African National teams, like Eritrea. They’re strong and used to the altitude. Besides that, we also have ProTeams like Israel Premier Tech which pose an extra challenge. Our motivation is very high and some of our riders have really targeted this race. We have Walter Calzoni who started the season very well, likewise for Filippo Conca. Our Continental rider Nahom is coming from the African Championships where he did very well. We have high expectations but this is a race with many variables, where anything can happen,” said Alex Sans Vega, Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team Sports Director. 

Tour du Rwanda 2023 – Lineup: 

Nahom Zeray Araya (ERI) Matteo Badilatti (SUI) Walter Calzoni (ITA) Filippo Conca (ITA) Carl Fredrik Hagen (NOR) 

Tour du Rwanda 2023 – Parcours: 

19/02 – Stage 1: Kigali Golf Resort & Villas – Rwamagana (115.6km)  20/02 – Stage 2: Kigali – Gisagara (132.9km) 21/02 – Stage 3: Huye – Musanze (199.5km) 22/02 – Stage 4: Musanze – Karongi (138.3km) 23/02 – Stage 5: Rusizi – Rubavu (195.5km) 24/02 – Stage 6: Rubavu Home of Amstel – Gicumbi (157.0km)  25/02 – Stage 7: Nyamata – Mont Kigali (115.8km)  26/02 – Stage 8: Canal Olympia – Canal Olympia (75.3km)