Eritrea’s Natnael Testefazion who riders for Italian club Drone Hopper–Androni Giocattoli, won the 14th edition of Tour du Rwanda on Sunday.
The Eritrean cyclist was quiet all day during the eighth stage of the tour, which was flagged off by President Paul Kagame, at Canal Olympia in Rebero, Kicukiro district. But he managed to keep a close eye on his closest rival throughout the race to clinch the spot and keep his coveted Yellow Jersey which he had won Friday.
Going into the final stage on Sunday, Tesfazion was ahead of the Ukrainian Anatolii Budiak (Terengganu) by 26’’ and the Irishman Jesse Ewart (Bike Aid) by 48’’.
"I had already won in 2020 thanks to a breakaway,” said Natnael Tesfazion, “this time I had to calculate more, it was very strategic against very strong riders like Budiak and Ewart. I too felt good all week”
Tesfazion’s is now Tour du Rwanda Champion for the second time after winning his first title of the UCI 2.1 African tour in 2020.
Kagame inspires Mugisha to win Stage 8
Rwandan rider Moise Mugisha made history at this year’s Tour du Rwanda by winnning stage 8, the first time a Rwandan has won a stage since 2018.
Tour du Rwanda, which was upgraded to UCI 2.1 Category in 2019, had proved too strong for Rwanda cyclists until Mugisha broke the jinx on Sunday at Canal Olympia in Rebero.
Mugisha, 25, who races for South Africa’s ProTouch, powered to the finish line after dominating the 75.3km course that went through parts of Kigali city, clocking 2 hours 8 minutes and 16 seconds.
The race was flagged off by President Kagame.
After the race, Mugisha said he was motivated by the presence of President Kagame, who he said he saw for the first time, and felt the need to salvage some pride for the country.
“I will be honest, it was my first time seeing the President,” joyful Mugisha told the Press, “When I saw the President, I felt the need to do better and at least make him proud. I thought we needed to prove to him that Rwandan riders can try our best and tap into the encouragement he always gives us. He recently gave us new and better bikes, everyone should look out for us next year.”
The 14th Tour du Rwanda attracted UCI World Tour teams, professional continental teams, continental teams as well as national teams.
Tour du Rwanda 2022 is believed to have been yet another great opportunity for Rwanda to prepare for the 2025 UCI World Championship.
1. TESFAZION NATNAEL - (DRONE HOPPER - ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI) 23h25’34"
2. BUDIAK ANATOLII-(TERENGGANU POLYGON) 23H26’00"
3. EWART JESSE (BIKE AID) 23H26’22"
4. MADRAZO RUIZ ANGEL- (BURGOS-BH) 23H26’31"
5. MULUEBERHAN HENOK (BIKE AID) 23H26’51"
1. Mugisha Moise - Stage Winner by Amstel Malt
2. Natnael Tesfazion - Yellow jersey by visit Rwanda
3. Mugisha Moise 65 points - King of the Mountain by Cogebanque
4. Sandy Dujardin (16 pts) - Dark Blue jersey (Intermediate Sprints) by SP Rwanda
5. Natnael Tesfazion 23h25’34" -Blue sky and yellow jersey (Best young rider) by Prime Insurance.
6. Manizabayo Eric (Benediction Ignite) 23h28’23"- White Jersey (Best Rwandan Rider) by Forzza Gaming
7. Natnael Tesfazion 23h25’34"- Green and white jersey (Best African rider) by RwandAir
8. Omer Goldstein ( Israel Premier Tech) - Orange, Green and White jersey (Combative Rider) by Horizon Express
9. Bike Aid 70h27’04" - White and Blue sky jersey (Team Classification) by Inyange Industries