Voice of Sport

Ndayisenga holds on to yellow jersey as local riders poised to win Tour

There are 70 cyclists from 14 teams taking part in the 8-day Tour of Rwanda race which continues tomorrow, Saturday, and concludes on Sunday


2014 TOUR OF RWANDA:

After Rubavu-Nyanza (182.4km):

Friday, November 21:

General classification:

NDAYISENGA Valens RWANDA KARISIMBI 18h59’05’’
NSENGIMANA Jean-Bosco RWANDA KARISIMBI 19h00’01’’ 56’’
BIZIYAREMYE Joseph RWANDA KARISIMBI 19h00’20’’ 01’15’
DEBRETSION Aron AS.BE.CO CYCLING TEAM 19h00’23’’ 01’18’’
BYUKUSENGE Patrick RWANDA AKAGERA 19h00’51’’ 01’46’’
MRAOUNI Salaeddine MAROC 19h01’08’’ 02’03’’
SABER Lahcen MAROC 19h01’10’’ 02’05’’
BURU Temesgen ETHIOPIA 19h01’11’’ 02’06’’
AMANUEL Million ERITREA 19h01’15’’ 02’10’’
TERRETTAZ Thomas TEAM MEUBLES DECARTE 19h01’17’’ 02’12’’

HOME race leader Valens Ndayisenga came in fifth place in the 182.4km-long Tour of Rwanda’s Rubavu-Nyanza stage, on Friday, retaining the yellow jersey for a third straight day.

Team Rwanda (Karisimbi) rider, Joseph Biziyaremye won the grueling stage, crossing the line in a time of clocked 5h9’49’’.

This was his second ever stage win, after his first stage win in 2012.

Compatriots

Musanze-Muhanga stage taker, Dawit Haile (Ethiopia) came in second with a time of 5h9’49’. He was followed by Muhanga-Rubavu stage winner Salaeddine Mraouni (Morocco), Temesgen Buru (Ethiopia) and Ndayisenga.

In the overall standings Ndayisenga is followed by compatriots Jean Bosco Nsengimana and Biziyaremye.

Biziyaremye’s win on Friday makes him the third Rwandan rider to win a stage after Hadi Janvier and Valens Ndayisenga.

Sunday finish

Saturday’s stage six race will take riders from Huye to Kigali, a distance of 125.7km. The Tour ends on Sunday afternoon.

Kenya, whose John Muya Njoroge placed overall third in last year’s are conspicuously absent in one Africa’s premier cycling tours. Njoroge died recently in a crash during the Tour of Philipines race, probably the reason why the Kenyan team gave Rwanda Tour a miss.

On Thursday, Valens Ndayisenga had said Wednesday’s crash towards the finish line in stage 3 played so much on his mind during stage four which he finished in 4th place, 3 seconds behind winner Mraouni the Moroccan.

Target

But the 20 year old who was taking part in the elite race for the second time still had a 56 second lead over teammate Nsengimana in the General Classification before Friday’s stage 5, Rubavu to Nyanza.

“This is my second time to compete in the Tour du Rwanda and I am happy with what I and the team have so far achieved but we have not yet reached our target, which is to win the competition,” said Ndayisenga.

Confident

“I did not perform well today(Thursday) because the rains made the roads very slippery which made me to reduce my speed out of fear of crashing again, but that won’t happen again.”

Aimable Bayingana, Chairman of the Rwanda Cycling Federation, was confident a local rider would emerge victorious in this year’s edition and stressed that it won’t be surprising or an act of luck.

Competitive

“The performance of our boys is not accidental, not because the other teams are weak. We have put in a lot to prepare them,” Bayingana said adding that a lot of effort was directed at preparing the teams to compete favourably.

This year’s edition has been so competitive that no single rider has managed to win two stages in a row. Team Rwanda (Karisimbi) rider Hadi Janvier won the prologue, Eritrea’s Debesay Mekseb won the first stage (Kigali-Ngoma), Ndayisenga took the third round from Rwamagana to Musanze, Eritrea’s Dawit Haile grabbed the fourth (Musanze-Muhanga) while Morocco’s Salah Eddine Mraouni triumphed in yesterday’s fifth stage, Muhanga-Rubavu.

Promising

There are 70 cyclists from 14 teams taking part in the 8-day race which continues tomorrow, Saturday.

The Tour du Rwanda, which is organised by Rwanda Cycling Federation, was first held in 1988 before it became part of the UCI Africa Tour du Rwanda category 2.2 five years ago.

Last year’s edition was won by South African after Dylan Girdlestone while Rwanda’s Valens Ndayisenga won the most promising rider accolade following his 11th place finish.

The sixth edition of the Tour du Rwanda for the first stretched to the districts of Ngoma and Nyanza. The tour will cover seven stages including the new routes of Kigali to Ngoma District (94 kilometers) and Rubavu to Nyanza district, which is the most grueling route covering 173km.

Following the addition of the two new routes, Tour’s total distance rose from 805km to 911.6km.

– Additional reporting by [Rwanda] ‘The New Times’