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Astana - Tour du Rwanda. Stage 3. Merhawi Kudus wins first mountain stage

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Wednesday, 27 February 2019



The longest and a very hard mountain stage has been held today at the Tour du Rwanda: the riders faced a 213-km-long distance from Huye to Rubavu with 5 categorized climbs and a long descent towards the finish line. Once again Astana Pro Team shined in Rwanda, taking another stage win: after his powerful attack Merhawi Kudus arrived solo at the finish line.

- First of all I want to thank my team! Today we had a good strategy and a very nice team’s organization inside the race, so I’ve got a solid support from my teammates. Without them it would be impossible to control the race. Today we had a very long stage with a lot of climbs. I felt good during the whole day and at the second part of the stage I had also Rodrigo Conteras next to me. In the final 10 km I just gave my all to stay clear in front and to win this stage. I am so happy to win today because it was this victory was possible because all our team did an amazing job. It is great to finish it with a win, - said Merhawi Kudus.

The stage started with a number of attacks, which created the first breakaway of the day: four riders could get around 3 minutes of advantage over the peloton. After the break was caught on the slopes of Kabaya climb, Astana Pro Team increased the pace of the group dramatically, producing a big selection in the peloton.

With around 65 km to go Merhawi Kudus launched a strong attack, followed by Rodrigo Contreras and four more riders. After new attacks Merhawi Kudus was able to get a good gap over his rivals, finally, taking a perfect solo win in Rubavu. His Astana teammate Rodrigo Contreras, dropping on the penultimate climb, was able to continue working hard, finally, taking a good 5th position.

Second place in this stage took Rein Taaramae, who finished 15 seconds behind the Astana rider, while the daily podium was completed by Matteo Badilatti, who lost 43 seconds. Another rider of the Kazakh team Nikita Stalnov finished 7th.

Taking his second stage victory in a row, Merhawi Kudus secured his leadership in the general classification of the Tour du Rwanda. Rodrigo Contreras is now 5th in the overall standings.

Besides, Kudus leads in the mountain classification, while Astana is first in the team classification.

Stage 4 will be held tomorrow: 102.6 km from Rubavu to Karongi.

Photo credit: ©Tour du Rwanda

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