Stage 3: Huye – Musanze 199.7 km
General Classification: Top five
1. Samuel Mugisha (Team Rwanda) 05h21’39”
2. Jean Claude Uwizeye (POC Cote de Lumière) 05h22’00”
3. Mulu Hailemicheal (Ethiopia) 05h22’00”
4. David Lozano (Team Novo Nordisk) 05h24’43”
5. Azzedine Lagab (GSP Algerie) 05h24’24”
Following Monday’s triumphant Stage 2 victory for youngster Samuel Mugisha, the 10th edition of Tour du Rwanda continues today with a rather daunting test as riders face the longest stage – Stage 3 – not only in this year’s edition, but also in Tour du Rwanda history.
The 16-team peloton of the eight-stage UCI Africa Tour race set off from Huye district at 8:30am CAT this morning and will ride through Nyanza, Ruhango, Muhanga and Ngororero districts towards Musanze, covering a record distance of 199.7 kilometres.
Prior to today’s stage, the three longest stages in Tour du Rwanda had been; Rubavu-Nyanza (182.4km) in 2014, Musanze-Nyanza (166.2km) in 2015 and Rubavu-Kigali (163.5km) in 2009.
Following yesterday’s heroics by Team Rwanda rider Mugisha whose stunning performance saw him snatch the yellow jersey from Algeria’s Stage 1 winner Azzedine Lagab, the home riders’ mission is to keep the yellow, beginning with Stage 3 today.
Mugisha, 20, registered his historic first stage win in Tour du Rwanda yesterday after covering the 120.5km distance from Kigali to Huye in 3 hours, 8 minutes and 56 seconds.
His compatriot Jean Claude Uwizeye and Ethiopian Mulu Hailemicheal finished second and third, respectively, in a sprint photo finish, 20 seconds adrift of stage winner Mugisha.
Thanks to Stage Two victory, Mugisha now leads the General Classification table with a total of 5 hours, 21 minutes and 39 seconds used while Uwizeye is in the second place with 5 hours and 22 minutes, a gap of twenty seconds deficit he shares with third-placed Hailemicheal.
“I think the race has just started, we still have six days to go but I believe today’s results will have a lot to say on the General Classification. After today’s stage, we shall have a clearer idea of where the race is headed. We need to keep working and keep the yellow jersey,” Mugisha said.
Mugisha will use support from reigning national champion Didier Munyaneza who finished fourth during yesterday’s stage, 21-year old Samuel Hakiruwizeye, 20-year old Jean Damascene Ruberwa and Innocent Niyireba, 20, who is the sole Tour du Rwanda debutant on the team.
Rwandans are vying for a fifth consecutive Tour du Rwanda title since 2014.
Stage 3 will have two intermediate sprints along the course with the first one coming after 72.8 kilometers while the second one is after 121 kilometers.