Spanish cyclist, Rodríguez Martin Cristian of Team Total Direct Energie has become the first European rider to win 2.1 category Tour du Rwanda.
Rodríguez, 26, registered double blow by winning last stage-the Queen stage of this year edition-and topped the General classification to become the first Spaniard to win the Tour of Rwanda.
Being a Champion of the 13th edition of Tour du Rwanda was no mean feat. The edition had several teams with dozens of seasoned riders who have raced in World Tour races and that fact that Rodríguez went into the final stage with just a 5-seconds advantage ahead of second-placed Jhonathan Restrepo (Team Androni Giacattooli) in General Classification made the victory difficult to reach but even sweater at the end for the Spaniard.
Stage 8 was a difficult one by tall measures. The 75.3KM stage had 6x Cat 1 and the Hors catégorie (HC) at the finish line at Canal Olympia, located at the summit of Rebero hill, in Kigali.
All riders started the race a bit timid not substantial attacks and breakaways, until Veteran rider, Pierre Rolland took things in his hands going into the last 20KM through the last 2 KM when Rodríguez attacked.
Rodríguez, who is now the 11th different winner of Tour du Rwanda, crossed the finish line 12’’ ahead Piccoli James of Israel Start-Up Nation, who finished 2nd in GC. This was Rodríguez’s first professional victory.
After the victory, Cristian Rodriguez, the winner of the stage said: “I hadn’t really planned to attack on the last climb but when I saw all the work my team had done, I told myself that I had to try something before my opponents. It was the best way to avoid losing my jersey. But I was still confident. It’s my first professional victory, and I will always remember it. "
It was truly a successful tour, raced under difficult circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic with limited cycling fans by the roadside compared to what we know of the Rwandan cycling fans, but the organ ising team and Rwanda Government authorities ensured a safe race for everyone involved.
1. Rodríguez Martin Cristian (Team Total Direct Energie) 22h49’51’’
2. Piccoli James (Israel Start-Up Nation) 22h50’08’’
3. Hoehn Alex (Wildlife Generation Pro) 22h50’42’’
Stage 8 Classification:
1. Rodríguez Martin Cristian (Total Direct Energie) +02h05’06’’
2. Piccoli James (Israel Start-Up Nation) +12’’
3. Zerai Nahom (Eritrea) +14’’
4. Alex Hoehn (Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling) ""
5. Alexis Vuillermoz (Total Direct Energie) 21’’
1. Teugels Lennert (Tarteletto - Isorex) 68pts
2. Manizabayo Eric (Benediction Ignite) 36pts
3. Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels p/b KTM) 35pts
1. Teugels Lennert (Tarteletto - Isorex) 27pts
2. Goytom Tomas (Eritrea) 12pts
3. Suaza Arango Bernardo Albeiro (Team Medellin) 10pt
Best Young Rider Classification:
1. Alan Boileau (B&B Hotels p/b KTM) 22h50’42"
2. Zerai Nahom (Eritrea) +0:46"
3. Bergstrom Frisk Eric (Bike Aid) +3’41"
Best African Classification:
1. Zerai Nahom (Eritrea) 22h51’28’’
2. Kent Main (Pro Touch) +01’07’’
3. Tewelde Mehari (Eritrea) +09’23’’
Best Team Classification:
1. B&B HOTELS P/B KTM 68h28’58’’
2. TOTAL DIRECT ENERGIE +4’05"
3. TEAM MEDELLIN +13’04’’
4. Bike Aid +22’25’’
5. TARTELETTO - ISOREX +25’15’’