Tour du Sénégal: Munyaneza inches close to historic victory

Didier Munyaneza, seen here during a past race in Rwanda Cycling Cup, has been at the top of the general classification in the Tour du Sénégal since Stage 2 on Monday. / File

Sunday
Final Stage 7

Dakar – Dakar (106km)

Saturday
Stage 6 (120.3km)
1. Jan Andrej Cully – 2:45:21
2. Peter Claus – 2:45:21
3. Hermann Keller – 2:46:27
4. Adou Sanogo – 2:46:27
5. Didier Munyaneza – 2:46:27

General Classification
1. Didier Munyaneza – 23:31:19
2. Hermann Keller – 23:31:34
3. Marek Canecky – 23:32:10
8. Eric Manizabayo – 23:35:57

Didier Munyaneza has edged closer to historic victory as he looks to become the first Rwandan rider to win the Tour du Sénégal on Sunday.

However, with only the ultimate Stage 7 remaining, a 10-lap circuit in West African country’s capital, Dakar, Munyaneza and his Benediction Excel Energy teammates face stiff competition from second-placed Hermann Keller and his German side – Team Embrace the World.

Ahead of the 106km ride, Munyaneza, 21, leads Hermann by 15 seconds in the general classification. Eric Manizabayo, in 8th position, is the only other Rwandan in top ten.

In Saturday’s penultimate stage, which was won by Dutch Jan Andrej Cully, Munyaneza finished fifth in a group that also included Hermann, who was third, with the two title challengers using 2 hours, 46 minutes and 27 seconds to cover the 120.3 kilometres.

“I have a lead of 15 seconds going into the final stage. I will fight to take home the Yellow Jersey tomorrow (Sunday), so help me God!” Munyaneza posted on his social media platforms after Stage 6 on Saturday.

Should Munyaneza hold off Hermann to win the 2.2 UCI category race, he will not only become the first Rwandan to do so, but it will also be his first international victory since his rise to prominence three years ago.

Munyaneza has had a busy 2019 season, both at club level and with the national team – also known as Team Rwanda, having participated in eight international races, several local races in Rwanda Cycling Cup and a month-long training camp in Japan.

The 21-year-old was born in Nyabihu, a rural district in North-West of the country, famous for being home to some of the best cyclists Rwanda has ever had such as Janvier Hadi – a gold medalist at the 2015 All-Africa Games.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com