Tour du Rwanda 2019: Ndayisenga still ‘optimistic’ for yellow jersey – PHOTOS

Team Rwanda riders, led by two-time Tour du Rwanda winner Valens Ndayisenga, are seen in a peloton during Stage 1 on Sunday. All photos by Plaisir Muzogeye


Stage 3: Huye – Rubavu (213.1km)

General classification

1. Kudus Merhawi (Astana Pro Team) – 5:43:49
2. Kasperkiewicz Przemyslaw (Delko Marseille) – 5:43:51
3. Joseph Areruya (Delko Marseille) – 5:43:51
4. Simon Guglielmi (Equipe de France) – 5:43:51
5. Fedeli Alessandro (Delko Marseille) – 5:43:51

Other Rwandans

10.  Samuel Mugisha (Dimension Data) – 5:43:51
13.  Valens Ndayisenga (TeamRwanda) – 5:43:51
17. Didier Munyaneza (Benediction) – 5:43:51
29. Eric Manizabayo (Benediction) – 5:44:14
37. Patrick Byukusenge (Benediction) – 5:44:27
44. Samuel Hakiruwizeye (Rwanda) – 5:45:11
50. Jean Claude Uwizeye (Rwanda) – 5:45:28
51. Jean Damascene Ruberwa (Rwanda) – 5:45:31
64. Moise Mugisha (Rwanda) – 5:47:00
65. Jean Bosco Nsengimana (Benediction) – 5:47:9
73. Bonaventure Uwizeyimana (Benediction) – 5:49:22

There was no distinctive attacks or major escapes during Stage 2.

Riders pace during the final 30 kilometres past Nyanza District as they made their way to Huye during Stage 2 yesterday.

Rwanda Federation President Aimable Bayingana (R) and  the Governor of South Province, Emmanuel K. Gasana, watch riders as they crossed the finish-line in Huye District.

Two-time Tour du Rwanda winner Valens Ndayisenga has insisted that he is still ‘optimistic and motivated’ to challenge for this year’s yellow jersey as the race enters Stage 3 on Tuesday.

The 2014 and 2016 champion, who is Team Rwanda’s main man this year, stands in 13th position after two stages, only two seconds behind the race leader Merhawi Kudus.

Ndayisenga, 25, is part of a 24-man group of riders – starting from the second position – who are tied on 5 hours, 43 minutes and 51 seconds and today’s Stage 3 is set to be the most grueling test, and first major day in the general classification battle, as the riders race 213.1km from Huye District, in Southern Province, to Rubavu in Western Province.

Spectators turned up in huge numbers to witness the continent's biggest cycling event.

The other Rwandans in the group include the 2017 winner Joseph Areruya (3rd), defending champion Samuel Mugisha (10th) and Didier Munyaneza in 17th spot.

For Ndayisenga to win his first stage and stand a chance to put on the coveted yellow jersey, he will have to overcome stiff competition from bearer Kudus and Delko Marseille trio of Kasperkiewicz Przemyslaw, Areruya and Alessandro Fedeli as well as Simon Guglielmi – who make the top five in general classification.

Besides stage winner Merhawi Kudus who finished two seconds ahead, it was a sprint finish for the next eleven riders.

Eritrean Merhawi Kudus is the new race leader following his Stage 2 victory on Monday.

Fans along the Kigali-Huye route did not disappoint.

It was a tight Stage 2 from Kigali to Huye. The race heads to Rubavu District on Tuesday.

Joseph Areruya is still in the RDB jersey as the best Rwandan rider.

Medical staff attend to Kenyan Salim Kipkemboi, who finished fifth in Stage 1, after suffering an accident 500 metres from the finsh-line in Huye

Kudus, 25, claimed the 120.5km Stage 2 in 3 hours, 2 minutes and 17 seconds.

Merhawi Kudus after being confirmed as the new Yellow Jersey bearer.

Team Rwanda rider Jean Claude Uwizeye picks a bottle of water from the team's car during Stage 2.

However, the former Dimension Data for Qhubeka rider says he is ‘fit and ready’ for the challenge.

“Tour du Rwanda this year is tougher than it has ever been, and things in the general classification can change very quickly at any point of the race. I and my teammates just need to keep working as much as we can,” Ndayisenga told Times Sport on Monday.

Ndayisenga clocked 3 hours, 2 minutes and 19 seconds to finish in 18th position during in Stage 2 that ran from Kigali through Muhanga to Huye District on a total 120.5km distance.

Merhawi Kudus was also decorated by RwandAir as the best African rider on Monday.

Merhawi Kudus was in awe as he crossed the finish-line yesterday.

Peloton during yesterday's Stage 2.

Riders line-up before Stage 2 kick-off in front of the City of Kigali Hall on Monday.

Thousands of spectators watch riders as they rode through Nyabugogo in Stage 2 on Monday morning.

Ndayisenga further noted: “I have been progressing steadily, and I feel that I am now in a good state to challenge for stage wins and the yellow jersey. The potential for me, or any other Rwandan to win the race is there, but we need to work really hard.”

By winning the second stage yesterday, Astana Pro Team’s Kudus took the stage win tally by Eritrean riders to a record nineteen.