Kudos Merhawi!

The victory for the Eritrean cyclist marked the end of dominance of the annual race for Rwandans who had claimed the coveted Tour du Rwanda yellow jersey back-to-back since 2014.
Merhawi Kudus, 25, is the second Eritrean to win Tour du Rwanda, and the first since 2010 when it was won by Daniel Teklehaimanot. / Plaisir Muzogeye

Sunday

Stage 8 (select results)
1. Pinzon Rodrigo Contreras – 1:33:10
2. Merhawi Kudus – 1:34:16
3. Fedeli Alessandro – 1:34:16
7. Matteo Badilatti – 1:34:16
8. Rein Taaramae – 1:34:19
10. Valens Ndayisenga – 1:34:22
11. Joseph Areruya – 1:34:33

General classification
1. Merhawi Kudus – 24:12:37
2. Rein Taaramae – 24:12:47
3. Matteo Badilatti – 24:12:55
4. Ricardo Aguirre Hernan – 24:13:08
5. Sirah Tesfom – 24:16:41
9. Joseph Areruya – 24:19:47
13. Valens Ndayisenga – 24:25:22
18. Samuel Mugisha – 24:27:56

Merhawi Kudus made history on Sunday when he became the first man to win Tour du Rwanda as a UCI 2.1 category race. His Astana club teammate Pinzon Rodrigo Contreras claimed the Stage 8 in Kigali yesterday.

The 25-year old crossed the finish-line of the 8th and final stage of the 11th Tour du Rwanda in triumph after finishing second on Sunday, ahead of bitter rivals; Israel Cycling Academy’s Matteo Badilatti who was seventh and Rein Taaramae, of Direct Energie, who finished eighth.

Prior to Sunday’s ultimate stage, which saw the riders peddling on the infamous cobbled ‘Wall of Kigali’ three times, Kudus had a 7-second lead over second-placed Taaramae and 17 seconds on Badilatti who completed the podium.

Kudus, who was making his second Tour du Rwanda appearance since 2012, clocked a total of 24 hours, 12 minutes and 37 seconds to cover the eight-day 953.6km race.

The victory for the Eritrean cyclist marked the end of dominance of the annual race for Rwandans who had claimed the coveted Tour du Rwanda yellow jersey back-to-back since 2014.

Sunday’s 61.7km stage, which started in Nyarugunga, before the 16-team peloton did three laps of a circuit in Kigali, was scooped by Pinzon Contreras, 24, who became just the second Colombian to win a Tour du Rwanda stage after Edwin Avila Vanegas, of Israel Cycling Academy, who claimed Stage 4 on Wednesday.

However, the spotlight was firmly on Kudus, the second Eritrean to win Tour du Rwanda, and the first since 2010 when it was won by former Dimension Data for Qhubeka teammate Daniel Teklehaimanot.

Team Rwanda’s Moise Mugisha, 21, took home the Rwanda Tea jersey for the most combative rider, while the 2017 champion Joseph Areruya settled for the RDB jersey as the best Rwandan rider after he finished ninth in general classification, and the sole Rwandan in ten top this year.

The 2018 Tour du Rwanda champion, Samuel Mugisha, finished in a disappointing 18th position, 15 minutes and 19 seconds behind the newly crowned champion Kudus.

This year’s race is the first that ended without a stage win for Rwandans since 2012.

Previously, Tour du Rwanda was 2.2 category race. It is now the second African cycling race rate 2.1, alongside La Tropicale Amissa Bongo, which was won by Rwandan riders last year.

editorial@newtimesrwanda.com

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