Algerian veteran rider Azzedine Lagab has yet again come out of age and proved his continental powerhouse clinching the first stage of this year’s Tour du Rwanda that got underway on Sunday.
- Algerian Azzedine Lagab wins stage one
The 31-year old experienced sprinter made his fourth appearance to the annual UCI Africa Tour since his debut in 2013 completed the 16 laps of the 6.5 circuit in 2 hours 12 minutes and 21 seconds.
Lagab’s win put into the shadow Rwandans dominance in the early stages of the 104 Kilometer race who had led the race before losing their lead in the final four laps.
Four circuits into the race, two-time winner Valens Ndayisenga who was racing in-front of his home town fans launched the first attack opening a gap of about six seconds to the chasing group that was led by two-time stage winner Janvier Hadi while the peloton was 10 seconds behind.
After the fifth circuit, Ndayisenga was joined by Les Amis Sportifs rising star Rene Jean Paul Ukiniwabo and the duo stretched the lead to 37 seconds to the peloton.
After eight circuits, the duo of Rwamagana born riders had stretched their lead to one minute and four seconds to the peloton.
However, with five laps to go, the peloton upped their pace and cut the gap to only twenty seconds behind Ndayisenga and Ukiniwabo. With twelve laps into the race, Ndayisenga and Ukiniwabo had been caught by the peloton while another leading group led by Team Rwanda’s U-23 rider Samuel Hakiruwizeye led the peloton by 10 seconds.
Heading into the final lap, Ndayisenga again tried to launch another attack, however towards the finish line Algerian Azzedine Lagab proved his sprinting powerhouse claiming the 104 Kilometer stage in two hours 12 minutes and 21 seconds.
The Groupement Sportif des Petroliers Algerie rider crossed the finish line in first a sprint photo beating USA Team Novo Nordisk’s David Riba Lozano who finished second posting the same time while South Africa’s James Fouire finished third posting 2 hours, 12 minutes and 31 seconds, nine seconds behind stage winner.
“I actually didn’t plan to win this stage but because the race had a lot of breakaways, I ended deciding to attack in the final lap and fortunately I won,” said Lagab
“Our objective is to win any top prize here but now that I have the yellow jersy, we shall try to protect it in the following stages,” he added
This was third stage for 31-year old at Tour du Rwanda following his two stage wins during his debut in 2013. Since then, the four-time Algeria’s ITT champion has also competed at the 2016 and 2017 edition.
Lagab also win the best African rider award while his team was GSP Algerie was awarded the best overall team of the day.
Meanwhile, Ndayisenga featuring for France’s POCCL was the best Rwandan rider finishing in the fifth place clocking 2 hours, 12 minutes and 33 seconds with debutant Lea Amis Sportifs young rider Moise Mugisha finishing in the seventh place posting 2 hours 12 minutes and 39 seconds.
The 24-aged Ndayisenga also took the best climber, best combatant and best Rwandan rider awards while Jonas Doring from Switzerland’s Team Descartes Romandie was the stage’s best young rider with Les Amis Sportifs Rene Ukiniwabo scooping the best sprinter award.
On Monday, riders will peddle the Kugali-Huye stage two, a 120.5 Kilometer distance that is the second longest stage in this year’s edition.
Stage one: Rwamagana-Rwamagana 140km
1. Azzedine Lagab (GSP Algerie) 02h12’21”
2. David Riba Lozano (Team Novo Nordisk) 02h12’21”
3. James Fourie (South Africa) 02h12’31”
4. Jonas Doring (Team Descartes Romandie) 02h12’31”
5. Valens Ndayisenga (POC Cote de Lumière) 02h12’33”
- Azzedine Lagab in the stage winner jersey sponsored by Skol Rwanda
- Azzedine Lagab being awared by @DLappartient the yellow jersey sponsored by MINISPOC
- Valens in KOM jersey sponsored by Cogebanque
- Rene Jean Paul Ukiniwabo in the best sprinter’s jersey sponsored by SP Rwanda
- Doring Jonas in the best young rider’s jersey sponsored by Prime Rwanda
- Valens in most aggressive rider’s jersey sponsored by @RwandAgriExport
- Valens in #VisitRwanda jersey sponsored by RDB Rwanda
Stage two: Kigali-Huye 120.5km