Stage 2: Kigali – Huye (120.5km)
The 2017 Tour du Rwanda winner, Joseph Areruya, has insisted that his side Delko Marseille Provedence are in Rwanda to fight for the yellow jersey as a team.
The 22-year-old Rwandan, who joined the French side in February 2018, finished fourth in Stage 1 of the 2019 Tour du Rwanda edition on Sunday, two seconds behind his Italian teammate Alesandro Fedeli who covered the 112.5km distance from Kigali to Rwamagana and back to Kigali in 2 hours, 41 minutes and 32 seconds.
Excel Energy Benediction Club's Bonaventure Uwizeyimana was awarded as Stage One's best sprinter despite finishing in the 70th position - sixth from the bottom. All photos by Plaisir Muzogeye
Speaking to Times Sport after Stage 1 yesterday, the former Dimension Data for Qhubeka rider said that he was happy with his team’s performance and vowed to put ‘teamwork first’ in order to retain the yellow jersey.
“I am happy with our performance today, we could not wish for a better result. Winning a second Tour du Rwanda title would be fantastic for me, but that’s not the priority. We want to put teamwork first and make sure we don’t lose the yellow jersey,” he said.
As it was expected, given the predominantly flat terrain, Stage 1 ended in a fierce sprint finish in Kicukiro District
This is the first Tour du Rwanda appearance for Areruya since his 2017 triumph. The cycling sensation missed last year’s edition, which was won by compatriot Samuel Mugisha.
Fresh from winning the second edition of Tour de l’Espoir earlier this month in Cameroon, Eritrean Yacob Debesay was beaten to the finish line by Fedeli, finishing second with the same time.
Polish Kasperkiewics Przemyslaw, also riding for Delko Marseille, came third, while Areruya and Kenyan Salim Kipkemboi finished fourth and fifth, respectively. The trio finished two seconds behind Fedeli and first runner-up Yakob.
Africa's reigning Cyclist of the Year 2018, Joseph Areruya, who riders for French side Delko Marseille, celebrates his teammate's stage victory as he crossed the finish-line
Africa’s Cyclist of the Year 2018 Areruya scooped the jersey for the best Rwandan rider, compatriot Moise Mugisha was named the most combative rider, while another Rwandan Bonaventure Uwizeyimana took the jersey for the best sprinter.
Mugisha, 21, was part of the leading breakaway early on in the stage, and made a solo escape within fifteen kilometers to the finish-line before he was overwhelmed and overtaken by the chasing group in the last four kilometers.
Riding for Team Rwanda, the 21-year-old finished in the 64th position, 2 minutes and 11 seconds behind the stage winner.
Green scenaries in Rwamagana District as fans enjoy Tour du Rwanda during Stage 1 on Sunday
Two-time Tour du Rwanda winner Valens Ndayisenga (2:41:38) finished in 10th place, defending champion Samuel Mugisha (2:41:38) settled for 14th, while the 2015 winner Jean Bosco Nsengimana (2:42:45) came in the 53rd position.
This is the first Tour du Rwanda race after the annual competition was upgraded to a 2.1 category race.
Young fans along the Kigali - Rwamagana road were ready for 'whatever it takes' to watch their favorite riders in action
Some 78 riders, 16 teams and 25 countries from around the world are taking part in this year’s race – 11th edition since Tour du Rwanda was first recognised internationally in 2009.
On Monday, the riders compete for honours on the 120.3km Kigali-Huye road.