Rwanda to be first African host of cycling road world champs

LEUVEN, Belgium (AP) — Cycling’s 2025 road world championships were awarded to Rwanda on Friday in a first hosting by an African country.

The capital city Kigali “will provide a magnificent backdrop” for the weeklong championships which were first held in 1921, International Cycling Union president David Lappartient said.

It’s the latest international sports project for Rwanda and long-time leader Paul Kagame which have faced criticism for repressive policies and human rights abuses.

Kagame hosted FIFA president Gianni Infantino this year to open a regional development office for soccer’s world body in Kigali.

Rwanda recently renewed a $13 million annual shirt sleeve sponsorship of English Premier League club Arsenal through 2025, and Kagame criticized the team on Twitter after losing the season-opening game.

The Rwandan president was in Belgium on Thursday to meet Lappartient ahead of the hosting decision being made on the sidelines of the road worlds.

The 2025 worlds in Kigali are also scheduled to be the venue for the UCI’s four-yearly elections.

Lappartient was re-elected unopposed Friday for a second term.

In this photo taken from video shown at United Nations headquarters, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame remotely addresses the 76th session of the U.N. General Assembly in a pre-recorded message, Tuesday Sept. 21, 2021. (UN Web TV via AP)

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