Musanze- Valens Ndayisenga and veteran Abraham Ruhumuriza crossed the finish line first in Musanze, Northern Province to boost Rwanda’s chances of winning Tour of Rwanda 2013.
The duo shielded off stiff competition from Jay Robert Thomson of Team MTN Qhubeka who despite coming third retained the Yellow Jersey in the general classification.
The home boys strolled into the Northern Province town amid wild cheers from the record crowd which waited for them. The victory could not have come in a better place with the national team based in the usually chilly town at the foot of the volcanoes.
Ndayisenga, 19, won the longest stage of the tour with a distance of 151.5Km from Rwamagana to Musanze, boosting Rwanda’s chances of winning the tour since it was put on the international cycling calendar.
No Rwandan has ever won the Tour of Rwanda which is now in its 5th edition.
The president of the Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY) AimableBayingana said that the country’s chances have been buoyed by the Tuesday performance which saw six Rwandan riders finishing among the top ten.
“It has been an outstanding performance. I strongly believe that if they continue like this, there are high chances of Rwanda winning this year’s edition. The boys are beginning to feel confident that they can take on their more experienced counterparts,” an elated Bayingana said.
Ruhumuriza put up a spirited performance finishing second in a race which had been earlier led by Nathan Byukusenge for a larger part and Hategeka Gasore who withered at the highest climb of the day at Buranga.
It is estimated that close to one million people watched the second road stage with crowds of people greeting the riders throughout, the biggest at Nyabugogo.
Team Rwanda coach Jock Boyer was equally thrilled at the performance of his team which showed a lot of energy as the stage neared to an end with the South Africans grouping up.
A peloton of 14 riders formed towards the end of the stage but Ndayisenga and Ruhumuriza burst out with energy breaking away with Thomson trying to keep the duo in check. The South African champion however could not match the energy and speed of the Rwandans, settling for 3rd place.
Team MTN Qhubeka remains the best team while in general Hadi Janvier is the Best Rwanda Rider.
How they finished
1. NDAYISENGA Valens Team Rwanda Akagera 4:06:44
2. RUHUMURIZA Abraham Team Rwanda Karisimbim.t.
3. THOMSON Jay Robert Team MTN Qhubeka à 14’’
4. EYOB Metkel AS.BE.CO Cycling Team à 37’’
5. MEINTJES Louis Team MTN Qhubeka m.t.
6. HADI Janvier Team Rwanda Karisimbi m.t.
7. NSENGIYUMVA Jean Bosco Team Rwanda Karisimbi m.t.
8. NJOROGE John Kenya à 45
9. BIZIYAREMYE Joseph Team Rwanda Akagera à 48
10. BYUKUSENGE Patrick Rwanda Muhabura m.t.
Tomorrow Wednesday will be the third stage, a test of 69.4 km to the riders from Rubavu to Kinigi below the Volcanoes National Park.