New Zealand's Sharlotte Lucas will be looking to defend her women's elite title at the 2019 Oceania Road Cycling Championships in Tasmania ©Getty Images

Two continental road cycling championships are set to begin tomorrow with Ethiopian city Bahir Dar hosting the African event and the Australian state of Tasmania staging the Oceania competition.

Six reigning champions headline the entries for the Oceania Road Championships, which are scheduled to run until Sunday (March 17).

Home favourite Chris Harper and New Zealand's Sharlotte Lucas return to defend their respective men's and women's elite titles, while under-19 time trial champions Luke Plapp and Anya Louw and the age category's road race winner Sarah Gigante step up to the under-23 ranks in front of a home crowd.

Moving up to the men's elite category is under-23 time trial champion Jake Marryatt of New Zealand.

Other names to look out for include Australian champion Michael Freiberg and New Zealand's Georgia Catterick, who claimed the bronze medal in the women's under-23 division last year.

The event will see more than 150 riders competing with 12 titles to be awarded across road races and time trials for under-19, under-23 and elite men and women.

It returns to Tasmania for a second consecutive time as part of a three-year commitment.

Tasmanian local Louw is excited to again line up on home roads after tasting success 12 months ago.

"Winning the under-19 Oceania time trial was massive for me," she said.

"It was the first race I had won on a national or Oceania level, and the result also secured my selection to represent Australia at the Junior Road World Championships alongside Oceania road race winner Sarah Gigante."

The chance to race on home roads is something Louw is relishing as well as the chance to compete at another major International Cycling Union (UCI) race in 2019, having competed at the Women's Tour Down Under and Herald Sun Tour.

Valens Ndayisenga is among the 14 riders set to represent Rwanda at the African Continental Cycling Championships in Bahir Dar ©Getty Images
Valens Ndayisenga is among the 14 riders set to represent Rwanda at the African Continental Cycling Championships in Bahir Dar ©Getty Images

"It is so awesome for my home State of Tasmania to be able to hold a UCI Continental Championship," she added.

"I live 15 minutes away from the road course and I can confidently say that there are no better roads in the country to host a challenging race that brings out the best from riders of all categories."

The Oceania Road Championships are the final event of the 2019 UCI Oceania Tour, which included the Gravel and Tar Classic, New Zealand Cycle Classic and Herald Sun Tour across January and February.

The 14th edition of African Continental Cycling Championships are due to run until Tuesday (March 19).

Cyclists from around 35 countries are expected to compete at the event, which was inaugurated in 2005.

Among the countries represented is Rwanda, whose cycling federation has sent a 14-member team to Ethiopia.

As reported by KT PRESS, the team includes nine men - 2016 Tour du Rwanda champion Valens Ndayisenga, Jean Claude Uwizeye, Moise Mugisha, Jean Bosco Nsengimana, Eric Manizabayo, Jean Eric Habimana, Barnabe Gahemba Uhoraningonga, Eric Muhoza and Uhiriwe Byiza Renus.

The five women are Jacqueline Tuyishime, Genevieve Mukundente, Beata Ingabire, Olive Izerimana and Diane Ingabire.

"We have good preparations, riders are in fine form and we will be hoping for good overall performances from them," elite women’s team coach Nathan Byukusenge told KT PRESS.

"We expect tough challenge from African teams like South Africa, Morocco, Eritrea and hosts Ethiopia but I believe our riders have something in stock to showcase, we just wait and see."

The event comprises the team time trial, the individual time trial and the road races for male and female juniors and elites.