TOUR DU CAMEROUN 2019: Team Rwanda dominates Stage 7 as Byukusenge moves into second

Patrick Byukusenge, 28, seen here in action during the 2017 Tour du Rwanda, looks to succeed compatriot Bonaventure Uwizeyimana as the Tour du Cameroun champion. / File

Sunday

Stage 8 (final stage)
Bafia – Yaoundé (122.8km)

Saturday
Stage 7: Loum – Dschang (109.4km)

Top five
1. Patrick Byukusenge (Rwanda) – 3:17:27
2. Moise Mugisha (Rwanda) – 3:17:27
3. Eric Manizabayo (Rwanda) – 3:17:31
4. Isiaka Cissé (Ivory Coast) – 3:18:05
5. Youness Tahiri (Morocco) – 3:19:13

General classification
1. Isiaka Cissé – 24:15:37
2. Patrick Byukusenge – 24:15:57
3. Radoslav Valentinov (Bulgaria) – 24:15:30
9. Bonaventure Uwizeyimana – 24:19:47
14. Eric Manizabayo – 24:24:16

TEAM Rwanda riders put up a strong performance on Saturday as they dominated Stage 7 of the Tour du Cameroun 2019, with Patrick Byukusenge moving into second position in general classification.

Byukusenge, 28, took to the podium in overall classification thanks to his Stage 7 victory after riding the 109.4km distance – from Loum to Dschang – in 3 hours, 17 minutes and 27 seconds.

He crossed the line in a two-man sprint finish with compatriot Moise Mugisha, while Eric Manizabayo, also Rwandan, completed the podium just four seconds behind the duo.

This was a second consecutive stage win for Team Rwanda in the UCI 2.2 Africa Tour race after Jean Claude Nzafashwanayo claimed Stage 6 on Friday.

Going into the ultimate Stage 8 on Sunday, Felix Sempoma’s men – who rank top in team classification – will be looking to push Byukusenge for the coveted Yellow Jersey as he only trails leader Isiaka Cissé, of Ivory Coast, by 20 seconds.

Should the Excel Energy Benediction Club rider see it through, he would be only the second Rwandan to win the eight-stage race after Bonaventure Uwizeyimana last year. The latter is also part of the team in Cameroun, but has not had an easy title defence as he lies ninth, a whopping 4 minutes and 10 seconds behind the Ivorian leader.

After seven stages, Rwanda and Morocco are the only countries with more than one cyclist in top ten, each with two representatives.

Courtesy of his stunning climbing power and a second position finish on Saturday, Mugisha also rose to the top of the King of Mountains (KOM) table with 22 points, nine ahead of second-placed teammate Jean Ruberwa.

In Youth Classification, Manizabayo is third, only behind Moroccan youngsters Zahiri Abderahhim and Youssef Bdadou.

Sunday’s final stage rolls off from Bafia – in central province of the country – towards the capital, Yaoundé, where the riders will tussle it out on a 122.8-kilometre distance.

Byukusenge, who looks to win his first international race, finished fourth last year.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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