- Jay Robert Thomson 03h16’15”
- Meintjes Loius 03h16’17”
- Girdlestone Dylan 03h16’21”
- Eyob Metkel 03h16’25”
- John Njoroge 03h16’32”
- Paul Van Zweel03h16’40”
- Hadi Janvier 03h16’46”
Kirehe/Kigali- Team Karisimbi’s Janvier Hadi who had the yellow jersey on the first day of Tour of Rwanda 2013 could only afford the 7th place after the first road stage of Tour of Rwanda 2013 from Kigali to Kirehe.
Hadi surrendered it to Team MTN-Qhubeka’s Jay Thomson who put up a strong performance on the stage which has a distance of 129.9Km. The South African from the start was a strong contender.
Thomson, who clocked 3h16’15”, was followed by Eyob Metkel of Team AS.BE.CO Cycling teamand Team MTN Qhubeka’s Louis Meintjes who came third with 3h16’21” on the general time board. Dylan Girdlestone of Team South Africa is 3rd in general classification.
Eyob Metkel of AS.BE.CO Cycling from Eritrea is fourth in the general classification while John Njoroge of Team Kenya is in the 5th position. In the sixth place is Paul Van Zweel of Team South Africa and Rwanda’s Hadi comes in the 7th position.
The 22 year old has managed 3h16’40” ahead of Lefrancois Nicolas and Van Zyl Johann. Joseph Biziyaremye is in the 19th position ahead of crowd favourite Adrien Niyonshuti who is racing for MTN Qhubeka. Niyonshuti finished strongly in the 9th position on the first day, improving his ratings.
Niyonshuti, who recovered in time to participate in the 5th edition of Tour of Rwanda, was racing in his home area of Rwamagana district where he was welcomed by huge crowds.
“I really didn’t have enough time to train. I was totally down for over two months. It is my pleasure to have recovered in time to take part in this year’s Tour of Rwanda,” said Niyonshuti, who has been out of action since February this year when he was diagnosed with a blood clot.
Hadi on the other hand said the first stage was somewhat challenging but said Rwandan cyclists will put up a spirited performance on the Tuesday stage from Rwamagana to Musanze, which will be the longest stage of the tour, covering 151.5km.
“Our strength lies in the Northern part of the country where we have been training for more than three months. We think here we will have an edge since we know the place better,” said Hadi.
The president of Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY) Mr Aimable Bayingana said that he is confident that Rwandan teams will challenge for the title this time despite the strong teams taking part in this year’s tour.
“The teams are strong this year, the likes of MTN Qhubeka but we believe Rwandan riders are in good shape and will give it their best shot,” said Bayingana shortly after awarding the stage winners.
After putting up an incredible performance, the stage winner Thomson said that the first stage was challenging.
“I am a bit concerned at the moment because I have been told that this is not even the most challenging stage of the tour but I am prepared to take on every stage as it comes. Today it has been an amazing team effort. We were a strong unit throughout,” said Thomson.
The South African national champion crossed after launching a spirited attack. The result moved Thomson into the overall lead with Meintjes in second place, two seconds behind.
Team MTN-Qhubeka placed all riders in the top 20 on the stage and all riders are also in the top 20 of the general classification, which made it the best team so far.
Tuesday’s route will be the first real test for the riders, going up the hills of the Northern Province. Huge crowds await the tour this year.