Stage three: Huye – Musanze 195.3km
Stage two: Kigali-Huye 120.5km
1. Samuel Mugisha (Team Rwanda) 3h08’56”
2. Jean Claude Uwizeye (POC Cote de Lumière) 3h09’17”
3. Mulu Hailemicheal (Ethiopia) 3h09’17”
4. Didier Munyaneza (Team Rwanda) 3h12’20”
5. Jonas Doring (Team Descartes Romandie) 3h12’22”
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”
Team Rwanda’s Samuel Mugisha yesterday put up a stunning performance as he claimed Stage 2 – from Kigali to Huye – of the ongoing 10th Tour du Rwanda to take the yellow jersey as overall leader of the race after two days.
It was the youngster’s first stage win in the annual race since his 2016 debut.
The 20-year old’s brilliant performance saw him snatch the yellow jersey from Algerian Azzedine Lagab, who had won the first stage on Sunday in Rwamagana.
Following a modest performance during the opening stage, in which only one Rwandan rider Valens Ndayisenga made it to top five, the local riders quickly responded well to prove their might in their own race on Monday, occupying three spots in the top five of yesterday’s stage
The Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka rider, who was part of the leading group since beginning of the stage in Kigali, launched a surprise escape from the breakaway within two kilometres to the finish-line to record first Tour du Rwanda’s stage win in a solo finish, covering the 120.5km distance in 3 hours, 8 minutes and 56 seconds.
His compatriot Jean Claude Uwizeye and Ethiopian Ethiopian Mulu Hailemicheal finished second and third, respectively, in a sprint photo finish, 20 seconds adrift of stage winner Mugisha.
Didier Munyaneza, also of Team Rwanda, posted 3 hours, 12 minutes and 20 seconds to settle for fourth while Doring of Team Descartes Romandie used 3h12’22” to complete top five.
Along the heavily crowded 120.5 kilometer highway from the start, the peloton moved together before Club Benediction’s 18-year old debutant Eric Manizabayo launched the first attack to comfortably claim the three points of the first climb that was at 5.8 kilometers into the race beating his Team Rwanda compatriot Didier Munyaneza who crossed it second.
After 15 kilometers, 2016 King of the Mountains Mugisha, POC Cote de Lumière’s Jean Claude Uwizeye and Ethiopia’s Mulu Hailemicheal attempted the first breakaway opening a thirty five seconds gap to the peloton.
The breakaway paid off for the Ethiopian Hailemicheal as he beat off the duo of Rwandan riders to clinch the stage’s second climb at 18.6 kilometers hence grabbing two points before also taking the intermediate sprint.
By the time the trio entered Ruhango town, they had stretched their lead to three minutes and twenty seconds ahead of the chasing group before Mugisha took second intermediate sprint.
The trio’s breakaway maintained the lead and by the time they bypassed Nyanza town before entering Huye district, the lead was at three minutes and eighteen seconds.
With 16 kilometers to the finish, the trio of Mugisha, Uwizeye and Hailemicheal had stretched their lead on the peloton further to four minutes before Mugisha launched the final attack as the trio entered Huye town to claim the stage.
While speaking to Times Sport after his historic stage win, a visibly overwhelmed Mugisha noted that, “I am very excited, this is something I have always dreamt of. I worked hard from beginning and I can only thank God and teammates to achieve the target. I know the race has just started, I believe I and my team can even do better in the next stages.”
Following stage two victory, Mugisha now leads the General Classification 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 shared with third-placed Hailemicheal.
David Lozano of Team Novo Nordisk comes fourth having now clocked 5 hours 24 minutes and 43 seconds, three minutes and four seconds off the yellow jersey bearer. GSP Algerie’s Azzedine Lagab (5:24:43) completes top five.
Meanwhile, action continues today with the longest stage ever in the history of Tour du Rwanda, a 195.3-kilometre course from Huye town Southern Province to Musanze town in the Northern Province, the home town of Team Rwanda at Africa Rising Cycling Center, ARCC.
The stage 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.
Points for four climbs will also be up for grabs, with the first one after 85.4 kilometers, the second one after 116.5 kilometers, the third one will come after 146.2 kilometers while the final climb is after 165.9 kilometers.