Astana’s Merhawi Kudus wins stage two, claims yellow jersey

25 February 2019 at 19:34  

Mo. 25/02 | Stage 2 | 120.5km | Kigali > Huye

Stage two results

Top five

General Classification

Top five

Exactly seven years after making his debut appearance at the fourth edition of Tour du Rwanda in which he won one stage, Eritrean professional rider Merhawi Kudus yet again has proved to be a force to reckon with as he rose to the occasion to claim Monday’s second stage of the ongoing 2.1 Tour du Rwanda in what was a rather solo sprint victory.

Following an unfortunate crash just a meters away from the finish line on the opening day which he also nearly won, the 25-year old rider who features for Astana Pro Team, the first World Tour Team to compete at Tour du Rwanda could not make any mistake again on Monday as he put on a stunning sprint finish to claim the 120.3kilometre stage.

The 2015 Tour de France participant covered the 120.3km in three hours, two minutes and seventeen second beating a strong sprint photo finish of 28 riders by two seconds.

The victory saw him claim the yellow jersey from Delko Marseille Provence Alessandro Fedeli who finished two seconds behind him in the 12th position clocking 03h02’19".

After completing the 5.9km neutralized zone, four riders including Didier Munyaneza from Benediction Excel Energy, Mulu Hailemichael from Dimension Data for Qhubeka continental team, Adrien Guillonnet from Interpro Cycling Academy and Tesfom Sirak from Eritrea attempted the first breakway of the day from the peloton which later saw Munyaneza claim the first KOM of the day at Ruyenzi beating the other trio.

Within the first 20km, the quartet had opened a one minute and thirty-eight seconds onto the peloton before the trio of Torres Muiño Pablo (Interpro Cycling Academy), Jean Bosco Nsengimana (Benediction Excel Energy) and Quemeneur Perrig (Direct Energie) joined them and Torres Muiño Pablo claimed the second KOM Kamonyi.

The 31-year old Spanish cyclist Torres again took the third climb at Nyamabuye this time beating Timothy Rugg(Bai Sicasal Petro De Lua) and Quemeneur Perrig (Direct Energie).

Nonetheless, the American famous rider Rugg later claimed the first intermediate sprint of the day in Muhanga and with 55 kilometres to Huye town, the gap between the breakaway and the peloton had stretched to three minutes and fifty seconds.

The two-time Tour du Rwanda stage winner Rugg yet again claimed the second intermediate sprint in Ruhango about 45 kilometers to Huye town, however the chasing bunch had cut the time deficit to only three minutes.

With only 35kilometres to the finish, the peloton had significantly reduced the gap to one minute and forty-three seconds on the breakway of Rugg, Antionio Dario (Bai Sicasal Petro De Lua), Torres Muiño Pablo and Quemeneur Perrig.

Within the last 20km, the gap between the breakaway and the peloton was just less than a minute however, Quemeneur Perrig from Direct Energie attempted to make a solo lead and opened a gap of 21 seconds on the chasing bunch.’

In the last three kilomtres to the finish line, his lead was down to 15 seconds before being caught in the final kilometers and Kudus sprinted from what had looked to be a sprint photo finish to claim a solo victory on a sunny afternoon in Huye town.

After stage two, Kudus lead the general classification with 05h43’49" while the duo of Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz and Joseph Areruya all from Delko Marseille Provence occupy the second and third positions respectively each with 05h43’51".

Meanwhile on Tuesday, the race will head to Rubavu district in the western province from Huye town covering a distance of 213.1km, the longest stage on this year’s edition.