[PHOTOS] Rwanda Cycling Cup: Twizerane stuns field to win Central Challenge race

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Cycling Club for All rider Mathieu Twizerana celebrates his solo finish in Central Challenge race on Saturday. / Sam Ngendahimana

Mathieu Twizerane put up a spirited fight to win the Central Challenge Race on Saturday in Muhanga District – the Central Challenge is the 7th race of the 2017 Rwanda Cycling Cup.

Riding for Huye-based Cycling Club for All, Twizerane used 3 hours and 47 seconds to cover the 115km distance from Nemba in Bugesera district to Muhanga town.

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CCA rider Mathieu Twizerana won the Central Challenge in elite category. / Sam Ngendahimana
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Rwamagana based riders Rene Jean Paul Ukiniwabo seen here giving instructions to his teammate during the Central Challenge. / Sam Ngendahimana

The 26-year old Twizerane escaped the leading peloton from Kamonyi town, about 37 kilometres to the finish line, and he never looked back.

It is not only Twizerane’s first victory in Rwanda Cycling Cup since its inception in 2015 but also the first win of his professional cycling career.

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Les Amis sportif 's Beatha Ingabire recieves a cheque after winning the race in women’s fray. / Sam Ngendahimana
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The Central Challenge race has attracted 70 riders, including 38 in Elite Men & U23 category, 22 in Men’s junior category and 10 in women’s fray. / Sam Ngendahimana

The race defending champion, Gasore Hategeka, finished second after clocking 3 hours, 1 minute and 58 seconds.

Youngsters Jean Paul René Ukiniwabo and Didier Munyaneza, who also used to the same time (3:01:58) finished in third and fourth places respectively, while Twizerane’s teammate Camera Hakuzimana (3:02:02) completed the top five.

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Benediction Club rider Manizabayo won the race in Junior Category. / Sam Ngendahimana
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Les Amis Sportif 's Rene Ukiniwabo won  the race in U23 Men category. / Sam Ngendahimana
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The Two-Time Tour du Rwanda winner Valens Ndayisenga  leads the peloton in Bugesera. / Sam Ngendahimana

Pre-race favourite and two-time Tour du Rwanda champion, Valens Ndayisenga (3:07:07), finished in a distant 14th place after a tyre puncture with 25 kilometres to Muhanga town.

Patrick Byukusenge (3:02:27) finished 6th, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana (3:04:36) finished 8th while Jean Claude Uwizeye came on the 9th position after using 3 hours, 4 minutes and 38 seconds.

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Goma Cycling Club from DRC joined the local clubs during a 115 km race in Elite category. / Sam Ngendahimana
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The race started at Rwanda-Burundi border Nemba, Bugesera District, go through the City of Kigali and end in Muhanga, a 115 km race. / Sam Ngendahimana
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The winner of Rwanda Cycling Cup Central Challenge , Mathieu Twizerane of Cycling Club for All( CCA) in his solo break away at Musambira. / Sam Ngendahimana

Ukiniwabo, who was one of the most impressive youngsters at last month’s Colorado Classic in the United States, won the U23 category.

Meanwhile, Béathe Ingabire, riding for Rwamagana-based Les Amis Sportifs, claimed the top prize in women’s 81km category to successfully retain her title, while Eric Manizabayo won the men’s junior race, which started from Nyamata to Muhanga.

Twizerane walked away with Rwf100,000 in cash prize, Ukiniwabo pocketed Rwf60,000 while the Ingabire and Manizabayo, both took home Rwf50,000 each.

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