Eritrean Merhawi Kudus (Astana) won the 11th Tour of Rwanda in Kigali

Eritrean Merhawi Kudus won the Tour du Rwanda international cycling competition concluded on Sunday at Kigali Regional Stadium in Nyamirambo sector in the Rwandan capital Kigali.

78 riders from 25 countries covered a distance of 959.1 kilometers in eight stages starting from Feb. 24.

Kudus riding for Kazakhstan’s Astana Pro Team clocked 24 hours, 12 minutes and 37 seconds to win the race.

The victory for the Eritrean cyclist marked the end of dominance for Rwandans who had claimed the coveted Tour du Rwanda yellow jersey back-to-back since 2014.

Kudus becomes the second Eritrean to win Tour du Rwanda, and the first since 2010 when it was won by former Dimension Data for Qhubeka teammate Daniel Teklehaimanot.

The Astana Pro rider from Eritrea, who also won the best African jersey, completed the eight-stage event to beat Direct Energie’s Rein Taaramae and Israel Cycling Academy’s Matteo Badilatti.

Estonian Rein Taaramae riding for France’s Direct Energie finished second with 24 hours, 12 minutes, 47.10 seconds.

South Africans Jayde Julius (ProTouch) finished 42nd, Rohan du Plooy (ProTouch) 51st, and Mornay van Heerden (ProTouch) 55th.

Du Plooy also won the sprinter’s jersey while Yakob Debesay Abreham claimed the King of the Mountains and best young rider classifications.

The 61.7km stage was won by Kudus’ teammate Rodrigo Contreras in 1:33:10 with Delko Marseille Provence’s Alessandro Fedeli rounding out the podium.

Rwandan rider, Moise Mugisha, 21, took home the Rwanda Tea jersey for the most combative rider, while the 2017 champion Joseph Areruya settled for the RDB jersey as the best Rwandan rider after he finished ninth in general classification, and the sole Rwandan in ten top this year.

This year’s race is the first that ended without a stage win for Rwandans since 2012.

The 2018 Tour du Rwanda champion, Samuel Mugisha, finished in a disappointing 18th position, 15 minutes and 19 seconds behind the newly crowned champion Kudus.

General classification and time clocked for the race

1.Merhawi Kudus – 24:12:37
2. Rein Taaramae – 24:12:47
3. Matteo Badilatti – 24:12:55

4.Ricardo Aguirre Hernan – 24:13:08
5. Sirah Tesfom – 24:16:41
9. Joseph Areruya – 24:19:47
13. Valens Ndayisenga – 24:25:22
18. Samuel Mugisha – 24:27:56

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