Rubavu - Team Morocco’s Mraouni Salaeddine emerged victorious on Stage 4 of the 2014 Tour of Rwanda after cruising to the finish line on the shores of Lake Kivu on a rainy Thursday afternoon.
Mraouni cruised to victory after proving to be the most tactical rider going downhill at one of the longest descents of the tour from Mutobo to Gisenyi town, which is characterised by steep slopes and sharp corners.
The Moroccan was able to fend off a strong challenge from Ethiopian Buru Temesgen, Rwanda’s Jean Bosco Nsengimana and yellow jersey holder Ndayisenga Valens who mounted a final assault towards the end of the of the stage.
Hurtling down at a terrific speed, Mraouni was able to hold steady on a slippery Musanze-Rubavu road amidst a heavy drizzle to complete a triumphant challenge- the first for a Moroccan to win this year.
“I took my chances. I was not sure of how it would end. The corners were very sharp but I managed to remain focused despite the rain and fog,” said Mraouni, who mounted his challenge with less than 20km to go.
Yellow Jersey Valens Ndayisenga came in 4th behind his compatriot Jean Bosco Nsengimana and Ethiopian Temesgen but as he revealed afterwards, it was a strategy he used to finish the race, in a better position rather than focussing at winning the stage.
“The conditions were not good. My target was to finish in the top five because the road was slippery. After yesterday’s fall, I could not take chances this time, but I believe tomorrow I can mount a serious challenge,” Ndayisenga said.
On the other hand, Nsengimana continues to put up a strong performance, remaining second on the general classification right behind Ndayisenga.
Three Rwandan riders of Team Karisimbi maintain the top 3 positions with Ndayisenga leading with 13h49’16’’ followed Nsengimana with 13h50’12’’ and Joseph Biziyaremye with 13h50’31’’.
FERWACY President Aimable Bayingana said after the race that the performance of the Rwanda riders is a result of serious investment and hardwork.
“Many people would think Rwandan riders are doing well because we have weak teams but it is not true. In fact this year we have some of the most competitive riders but we prepared the teams very well,” Bayingana said.
He said there was a lot of effort directed towards preparing the teams for the tour, with the hope that a Rwandan would take it for the first time.
Eritrean Debretsion Aron of Team AS.BE.CO is in 4th place with 13h50’34’’ followed by Rwanda Akagera’s Patrick Byukusenge 13h50’41’’.
Title favourite and UCI Continental tour leader Debesay Mekseb continued to have a bad day after finishing 34th, moving him to 14th on the general classification.
- Mraouni Salaeddine, Team Morocco, 03h46’25’’
- Buru Temesgen, Team Ethiopia, 03h45’25’’
- Jean Bosco Nsengimana, Rwanda-Karisimbi, 03h46’25’’
- Valens Ndayisenga, Rwanda-Karisimbi, 03h46’28’’
- Patrick Byukusenge, Rwanda-Akagera, 03h43’32’’
- Giday Kibrom, Team Ethiopia, 03h46’32’’
- Ndayisenga Valens, Rwanda-Karisimbi 13h49’16’’
- Nsengimana Jean-Bosco, Rwanda-Karisimbi 13h50’12’’
- Biziyaremye Joseph, Rwanda-Karisimbi 13h50’31’’
- Debretsion Aron, AS.BE.CO Cycling Team, 13h50’34’’
- Patrick Byukusenge, Rwanda-Akagera, 13h5041’’
- Mraouni Salaeddine, Team Morocco, 13h51’19’’