At just 18 years of age, Eritrean Biniam Girmay Hailu on Thursday afternoon yet again showcased that he is a new sprinter on the block as he claimed stage five of the ongoing 2019 Tour du Rwanda that started in Karongi town and ended in Musanze covering a total distance of 138.7km, the first on his name on his debut as well the first for his team this year.
In what had earlier looked to be a stage highly likely to be won by Rwandan riders after leading the whole race, Biniam Girmay slipped into the breakaway of eleven riders towards the final stages of the race and in a brink of an eye, he beat the final sprint of eight riders to the finish particularly beating 2018 African Cyclist of the year and 2017 Tour du Rwanda champion Joseph Areruya by just inches.
Biniam posted 03h42’01" the same as Joseph Areruya in the second, Daniel Turek from Israel Cycling Academy in the third and Didier Munyaneza from Benediction Excel Energy in the fourth place.
A month ago, Biniam Girmay became known to the general public by beating the sprinters of the world peloton like André Greipel, Matteo Pelucchi and Niccolo Bonifazio at the Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon.
"After my victory against professional sprinters in Gabon in January at the Tropicale, I did not think I could win on a stage like this today in a breakaway. I managed my efforts well, I knew that I had to keep all my strength for the finish. I am not yet known to other riders; they were not suspicious of me. I was waiting for this sprint, I thought there would be attacks before but finally everything went perfectly for me, " he noted
His compatriot Merhawi Kudus who plies his trade with World Tour team Astana Pro team came in 30th position clocking 03h45’18’’, three minutes and 17 seconds, however he retained his yellow jersey for the fifth consecutive day.
On the general classification standings, the 25-year-old Kudus still leads his closest contender Taaramae Rein from Direct Energie with 17 seconds having so far used 17h33’37’’ while the latter has posted 17h34’22 with Badilatti Matteo from Israel Cycling Academy in the third place with 17h34’22’’, 45 seconds behind.
Meanwhile on Friday for stage fix, riders will depart from Musanze and pass through Kigali and finish in Nyamata, covering a distance of 121.1km.