First victory for Astana for the 25-year-old Eritrean who takes over the second stage of the Tour du Rwanda, winning also the leading jersey
From our correspondent
The mistake of the Colombian Ávila ended on the ground 75 meters from the arrival of the first stage of the Tour du Rwanda had also affected one of the most anticipated men of this year's edition, the Eritrean Merhawi Kudus: the runner of Astana was ended up on the ground also hit by the runner who was coming behind him and had seen the possibility of fighting for a stage victory vanish. Despite the accident this morning Kudus felt good overall, some pain but nothing disturbing: and so here today at the end of the second stage, on an uphill tear that looked like a photocopy of the one yesterday, the new acquisition of Astana is is redone with the interests winning a convincing victory, in addition to the leader jersey in the standings.
You arrive in the university city of Huye This second stage of the Tour du Rwanda 2019 left again from the capital Kigali to head south and the city of Huye, capital of the homonymous district. Since colonial times, Huye (formerly Astrida and Butare) is one of the most important cultural centers of the country: here are the National Museum of Rwanda, an important scientific research center and especially the National University of Rwanda with very popular campuses that they give Huye the title of "university city". The whole school system of the district is very well developed and along the 120 kilometers of the route today there were thousands of children of all ages who waited for the passage of the advertising caravan and then of the runners wearing their uniforms of order.
Here in the country the school system was reformed in 2009 and now provides a well structured path of nine years, the first six primary school, the other three secondary school: the program was considered a success since the rate of enrollment primary school reached 97% for males and 98% for females, the highest in the East African region. Starting from 2008, another important change had been adopted: the French was in fact replaced by English as a foreign language taught in the various classes, partly to break the links with the colonialism of the past, a little to encourage the entry of the country into the Commonwealth, which occurred the following year.
Alessandro Fedeli in the yellow jersey at the start
Four runners on the run, unlucky Nsengimana
The first part of the stage was quite demanding with three climbs in the first 38 kilometers, Ruyenzi, Kamonyi and Nyambabuye: the second was the most demanding, divided into three steps each with gradients above 7%. At kilometer 9 the good action was initiated at the initiative of Pablo Torres (Interpro) and Perrig Quéméneur (Direct Énergie): they were joined by Angolan Antonio Dario (Bai Sicasal) and above all Jean-Bosco Nsengimana, captain of the Benediction Excel Energy and already winner of an edition: arrived delayed about one minute yesterday, due to the lack of ability to elbow and to move within the group, Nsengimana had tried a first time, then after an indecision is broken down aiming for escape.
Even today, however, it was not the day of "Bosco" but this time also because of bad luck: in the second descent it was the victim of a puncture, it was taken over and over by the American Timothy Rugg (Bai Sicasal) which was then reported on the three of head. With four men in command, Nsengimana remained for a long time to chase alone: his delay remained fixed at one minute, that of the platoon has grown to touch the six minutes around the kilometer 50. Nsengimana has finally decided to get up but, even for Dario, Rugg, Torres and Quéméneur the prospects were not better: at 20 kilometers the gap was just 35 ", Quéméneur then tried to revive and with great determination defended a few seconds of advantage up to the last 2500 meters when the platoon has definitely been redone below.
Kudus is lethal on the last tear
As already mentioned, the final stage was quite similar to that of yesterday: at the sign of three kilometers on arrival the road began to rise with varying gradients between 4% and 7% up to the mountain grand prix at the entrance of the city of Huye, immediately in front of the National Museum at 1400 meters from the arrival. Here the Astana has asserted all its technical depth with a great shot of Merhawi Kudus just in view of the gpm, while behind him the teammates broke the changes and fostered the action of European talent. In the stretch of false flat Kudus continued to push and this time there was no curve and no clumsy opponent who could deprive him of success: in the end the timekeepers detected 2 "of separation between him and the first part of the pursuers.
The sprint for the second place saw the Polish Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Delko) in front of everyone with the very young Biniam Girmay in third position, Joseph Areruya in fourth, Rodrigo Contreras in fifth and Hernán Aguirre in sixth. In the end, despite the group being very long, there were 27 riders classified with the same time 2 "from Kudus: among them also Alessandro Fedeli, twelfth, and Matteo Sobrero, twenty-third. Among the delayed riders we mention Mekseb Debesay, who arrived at 1'35 "after being the victim of a fall about 40 kilometers from the finish line. An applause also goes to Avila, skinned on the entire left side of the body and with a suspected muscle injury, but able to hold on and finish the stage just 14 "from Kudus.