An energetic mix of young and experience, including Chris Froome in his first race of the 2024 season, will line up for Israel – Premier Tech at the eight-day Tour of Rwanda, which begins on Sunday.

This year marks IPT’s sixth participation at the race, an involvement that is now even more symbolic than before. Twelve months ago, the team inaugurated its Field of Dreams cycling center in the district of Bugesera, a game-changing project that has already helped countless local children discover the joy of cycling. The team is set to return to this inspiring cycling facility on Friday to experience the impact it has already had on the local community.

The 2024 edition of the race is notably short, clocking in at 718.9 kilometers for the eight days. The parcours includes the Tour’s first-ever team time trial on day one (18.3 kilometers), taking place around the capital city of Kigali, and a 13-kilometer uphill individual test against the clock between Musanze and Kinigi Kwita Izina.

Friday’s sixth stage, the near-annual finish atop Mont Kigali, will also play a part in shaping the GC.

Froome will be joined by fellow Brit Joe Blackmore, a first-year rider from the IPT Academy, who recorded four top-10 stage results en route to sixth overall last year racing for a GB national team. Israeli riders Guy Sagiv and Itamar Einhorn, along with German under-23 road race champion and another new Academy recruit Moritz Kretschy, complete the line-up.

“This is a very important race for us because of the relationship the team has with the country and what we are doing to develop cycling in Rwanda with the Field of Dreams project,” says Sports Director Ruben Plaza.

“It’s a special race, which is why we have a strong team here. Our first objective is to win the TTT in Kigali on stage one. We have options with Itamar on stage two, and after this we will be fighting for the GC with Joe and Chris.

“It’s difficult to predict how the racing will unfold – although most of the stages are pretty short, the teams are made up of just five riders, which means it will be difficult to control. It will be a very nervous race, so we have to be ready from KM0 of the first road stage.”

Photo: Chris Froome and the Field of Dreams inauguration in February 2023

Froome helped inaugurate the Field of Dreams 12 months ago, and is already excited about his return to Rwanda and the start of his 2024 season.

“I love any opportunity to get back to Africa, it feels like home,” he says. “Everyone is always so warm and welcoming, it’s a great feeling.

“Seeing the Field of Dreams was the highlight [of last year’s visit to Rwanada] for me. It was a project we had raised funds for at the Tour de France in 2022 so being able to go there and see it for myself was a wonderful experience.”

Blackmore and Krestchy will race in Rwanda days after finishing a highly-productive IPT Academy camp in Alicante, Spain. Reigning British Gravel champion Blackmore turns 21 on the day of the Mont Kigali stage, making him the same age as Krestchy, and Froome is looking forward to the experience of competing with them next week.

He says: “I always enjoy racing and doing training camp with younger riders who are in that phase of figuring out how to get the best out of themselves. I don’t have all the answers but I can at least share my experiences and what has helped me to achieve what I have achieved.”

IPT at the Tour du Rwanda

Riders: Joe Blackmore (GBR), Itamar Einhorn (ISR), Chris Froome (GBR), Moritz Kretschy (GER), Guy Sagiv (ISR)

Sports Directors: Ruben Plaza, Lahav Davidzon