No clear front-runner for Yellow Jersey yet, says Samuel Mugisha

Tuesday

Stage 3: Huye – Rusizi (142km)

 

Monday (Stage 2)

 

Select results

 

1. Mulu Kinfe (Delko Provence) – 3:03:21

2. Valencia Restrepo (Androni) – 3:03:21

3. Hailu Biniam (Delko Provence) – 3:03:21

4. Didier Munyaneza (Benediction) – 3:03:21

5. Tesfom Sirak (Eritrea) – 3:03:21

9. Joseph Areruya (Rwanda) – 3:03:21

16. Patrick Byukusenge (Benediction) – 3:03:21

31. Moise Mugisha (SACA) – 3:03:21

39. Samuel Mugisha (Rwanda) – 3:03:21

71. Jean Bosco Nsengimana (Rwanda) – 3:08:03

General Classification

1. Fedorov Yevgeniy (Astana Motors) – 5:48:20

2. Henok Mulueberhan (Eritrea) – 5:48:35

3. Hailu Biniam (Delko Provence) – 5:48:38

4. Carlos Quintero (Terengganu) – 5:48:40’

5. Patrick Byukusenge (Benediction) – 5:48:41

7. Joseph Areruya (Rwanda) – 5:48:46

16. Moise Mugisha (SACA) – 5:48:49

17. Eric Manizabayo (Benediction) – 5:48:49

33. Samuel Mugisha (Rwanda) – 5:49:11

With only two days into the 2020 Tour du Rwanda, Samuel Mugisha has said that there is no clear front-runner yet and Rwandan riders should not give up on the fight for the Yellow Jersey.

Mugisha, winner of the 2018 Tour du Rwanda, was speaking to Times Sport in an exclusive interview after Stage 2 in Huye District, Southern Province, on Monday afternoon.

The 22-year-old finished in 39th place, but he used the same time of 3 hours, 3 minutes and 21 seconds as Ethiopian Mulu Kinfe Hailemichael who won the stage after outclassing a bunch of 49 contenders on the line.

Didier Munyaneza, riding for Rwandan side Ignite Benediction, was left distraught as he missed out on Stage 2 win after his failed attack attempt in the final kilometre of the 120.5km ride. He finished fourth.  

After two stages, there are four Rwandans inside the top 20, with fifth-placed Patrick Byukusenge only 20 seconds behind leader Fedorov Yevgeniy. The latter claimed Stage 1 on Sunday to become the first ever rider from Kazakhstan to win a Tour du Rwanda stage.

Captaining the national team ‘Team Rwanda’ in the race, Mugisha insists that there is still hope for home riders to step up in the coming stages – starting with Stage 3 on Tuesday – in the ‘difficult quest’ to keep home the Yellow Jersey.

“I think the race is still wide open, there is no front-runner yet,” Mugisha told this publication.

“The most essential thing is to not give up. We have to fight till the very end. Fedorov has a good lead, but it is very possible that the Yellow Jersey can slide off his back. We definitely can – and will try to – make it happen.”

With seventh-placed Joseph Areruya leading Team Rwanda in general classification, the star-studded outfit will be looking to rally their effort behind him in the grueling third and fourth stages – on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively – in Western Province.

Stage 3 (142km) will wave off from Huye towards Rusizi District, South of the Western Province, before quickly heading to Rubavu District, North the province, along the Kivu Belt trail for Stage 4, which is the longest stage (204.5km) this year.

No Rwandan rider has won a stage in the highly regarded Tour du Rwanda since the race upgraded from 2.2 to UCI 2.1 category last year.

Mulu Kinfe’s victory on Monday saw him become the second Ethiopian to ever win a stage in Tour du Rwanda and the 56th stage winner since Tour du Rwanda turned international in 2009.

pkamasa@newtimesrwanda.com

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