The highlight of the cycling calendar, you might expect the Tour de France to attract the biggest crowds, but on the basis of video footage posted online, it might be challenged by a little race in Africa.
The Tour du Rwanda may be a lowly UCI 2.2-level race, three levels below the Tour de France and sitting alongside races such as the Five Rings of Moscow and the Tour Meles Zenaqi for Green Development, but attracts the sort of roadside crowds that most races could only dream of.
Starting on Monday with a prologue around the streets of the capital Kigali, the riders have been supported by huge crowds apparently lining every metre of the route as it winds it way around the small east African country which is only slightly bigger than Wales.
Photos and videos posted on Twitter show the crowd being 20 deep at some points on the route, with crowds even scaling half-completed buildings at the side of the road in order to catch a glimpse of the riders.
Despite not even having a national team until 2006, professional cycling has been booming in the country, with the likes of Dimension Data rider Adrien Niyonshuti progressing to WorldTour level.
As for the current Tour du Rwanda, three of the five stages so far have been won by Rwandan riders, although Eritrean Metkel Eyob moved into the overall lead after taking victory on stage four on Thursday.
The three remaining stages all feature hilly parcours, meaning plenty of chances for the GC to be shaken up, although the race will likely be decided on the final stage around Kigali, which features multiple ascents of the steep climb of the Kigali Wall.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
David Millar: Why Mark Cavendish deserves to be at the Tour de France
Cav has bridged generations in a way no one else could, he shows what's possible
By David Millar • Published
Young and talented: Meet the seven Americans racing Le Tour
Young and talented: Meet the seven American bike racers ringing Le Tour de France in 2022.
By Marshall Opel • Published