Making his second appearance at the Tour du Rwanda just like his team Israel Cycling Academy, Colombian Edwin Ávila put on a stunning performance to win stage four-Rubavu-Karongi (102.6km) hence bringing to an end a two-day strong dominance by yellow jersey holder Merhawi Kudus with his team Astana Pro Team.
The 29-year old who made his debut appearance in 2017 with Team Illuminate from the USA in which he fell short of a stage win during stage three; Rubavu-Musanze at the hands of eventual tour winner Joseph Areruya made sure the same history doesn’t repeat itself as he attacked in the final 4km and subsequently claimed the stage.
He posted 02h37’32" well beating Pablo Torres Muiño from Pablo Interpro Cycling Academy to the finish line despite clocking the same time while Sirak Tesfom from Eritrea and defending champion Samuel Mugisha from Team Dimenson Data for Qhubeka Continental team who came in the third and fourth places respectively each clocking 02h37’35".
This marked the second stage win for Israel cycling Academy following a stage one (Kigali-Ngoma) win courtesy of Guillaume Boivin.
Yellow jersey holder Kudus came in the 24th place 05’43” behind posting 02h43’15’’ nonetheless he retained his lead following a very strong performance on Tuesday during stage three.
The race kicked off with one lap by the shores of L.Kivu in Rubavu before riders started climbing up to the first KOM of the day that was after 8.2km which was taken by Hailemichael Mulu of Dimension Data beating Torres Muiño Pablo of Interpro Cycling Academy and Andemeskel Awet from Israel Cycling Academy.
Moise Mugisha of Team Rwanda took the second KOM points of the day at Kamiko after 24.7km beating Andemeskel Awet and Torres Muiño Pablo.
28km into the race a total of 16 riders established a breakaway which had a 20” lead on the chasing group and 3’ on the peloton and after 61km, only four riders were in the breakaway and these included eventual stage winner Edwin Ávila, Samuel Mugisha, Araujo Bruno and Torres Muiño Pablo.
Torres Muiño Pablo took the final KOM points beating the trio in the breakaway was after 70km and with 20km remaining, Bruno Araujo had dropped from the breakaway which was leading the chasing group by 45” and 4’45” on the yellow jersey peloton.
As the trio reached in the final 4km, Edwin Ávila made an attack and despite a strong follow up by Pablo Torres Muiño, he managed to win his first stage on the African soil.
The 29-year old riders had before in Asia, Europe and South America.
Following this triumph, Edwin Ávila now stands 29th on the general classification up from 36th while Merhawi Kudus keeps the lead for having so far used the least time 13h48’19’’ with Taaramae Rein in the second place, 17 seconds behind while Badilatti Matteo comes in the third place with 13h49’04’’, 45 seconds behind.
Meanwhile on Thursday, Stage five will kick off from Karongi and head to Musanze where riders will cover a total distance of 138.7 km.