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Rwandan rider Samuel Mugisha reported missing ahead of Maryland Cycling Classics

'He planned this. We tried to reach out on social media, we’ve spoken to other Rwandan riders in the US and they’ve not heard from him,' say ProTouch.

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Rwandan rider Samuel Mugisha has been reported missing in the United States after the ProTouch rider failed to make contact with his teammates or take part in the Maryland Cycling Classic at the weekend.

Mugisha, 24, and a former winner of the Tour of Rwanda, arrived in the U.S. on Wednesday of last week. He was set to race the Maryland Cycling Classic on Sunday, but according to his team, the rider disappeared at an airport in Dallas and has not made contact since.

CCTV footage apparently shows Mugisha going through passport control and then getting into a vehicle with two individuals that ProTouch claims ‘he clearly knew’.

The team has stressed that the disappearance does not look as though Mugisha was under any duress.

“We waited four to five hours and the organizer then phoned me to say they couldn’t find him. I tried to contact him and he didn’t answer and he disappeared,” a ProTouch spokesperson told VeloNews.

“He didn’t make contact with any of the other riders or the management. A missing person’s report was made, they went onto the CCTV, and they saw that he went through passport control, was on his phone, and then literally walked out and got into a car with two people that he clearly knew. He planned this. We tried to reach out on social media, we’ve spoken to other Rwandan riders in the US and they’ve not heard from him.”

Although he has not been fired at this point by the team it is clear that Mugisha is unlikely to race for ProTouch again.

“He’s obviously in a lot of trouble because obviously his visa was related to coming to the race. It’s tough enough getting a visa for African riders at the best of times. When this happens it sets a precedent and you can imagine how much tougher it could be in the future for more riders,” the team said before categorically stating that Mugisha, when asked by VeloNews, did not suffer from any mental health issues that could be linked to his disappearance.

“Maybe he decided that being there might be a better place for him to be than Rwanda. He has our equipment and we’ve reached out to him and the federation. They’ve been in touch with the embassy. The police have been very clear that he did not leave under any duress. He was clearly on the phone,” the team added.

“It’s difficult to think that he’s just going on holiday. Even his sister and father say they’ve not heard from him. We’re going to be hard-pressed to keep him on our roster. It’s past the point of no return. We’d be hard-pressed to say come back all is forgiven and then take him to the next race. He begged me to go and to be part of the team, even though he wasn’t on the first roster. Now I understand why.”