Stage 4: Rubavu – Karongi (102.6km)
1. Merhawi Kudus – 11:05:04
2. Rein Taaramae – 11:05:21
3. Matteo Badialatti – 11:05:49
4. Aguirre Ricardo – 11:06:04
5. Rodrigo Contreras – 11:13:08
10. Joseph Areruya – 11:14:58
12. Valens Ndayisenga – 11:14:58
15. Eric Manizabayo – 11:15:27
18. Didier Munyaneza – 11:15:58
30. Samuel Mugisha – 11:25:29
Astana Pro Team rider Merhawi Kudus will be looking to extend his spell in yellow jersey – and possibly extend his lead – when Tour du Rwanda 2019 goes into Stage 4 on Wednesday.
The riders will be flagged-off in Rubavu and race to a total 102.6km distance along the Kivu Belt road before finishing in Karongi, Western Province.
If there is anything that was made clear by Tuesday’s Stage 3, it is that Rwandan riders are not a threat to race leader Kudus for his yellow jersey. The Eritrean (11:05:04) leads ninth-placed Joseph Areruya (11:14:58) – and Rwanda’s best in general classification – by a whopping 9 minutes and 54 seconds.
With his Stage 3 victory, Kudus did not only become a fan favorite, but also made history as the first rider to win two consecutive Tour du Rwanda stages since 2011.
Going into Stage 4, the 25-year old is 17 seconds ahead of Estonian Rein Taaramae who is representing Direct Energie and leads Israel Cycling Academy’s third-placed Matteo Badialatti by 45 seconds.
“Today’s stage was tougher than we anticipated, but we still showed that we are Astana – we are fighters,” Kudus told Times Sport after his solo finish on Tuesday, adding that he wanted to make up for his failure to win the 2012 Tour du Rwanda when he finished in sixth position.
Kudus made his Tour du Rwanda debut six years ago, at the age of 18, while he was also making his first appearance in any international competition.
Should he hold off his closest contenders’ surge to win the 11th Tour du Rwanda, and its inaugural edition in UCI 2.1 category, Kudus will only become the second Eritrean to win the race after Daniel Teklehaimanot in 2010.
The two compatriots remain the only black Africans to ever race Tour de France.