Eritrean Tesfatsion wins the Tour du Rwanda 2020: the last stage with Mount Kigali and Mur de Kigali goes to the Spaniard José Manuel Diaz
For the third time in twelve editions of the race, it is a runner from Eritrea who wins the final general classification of the Tour du Rwanda : after Daniel Teklahaymanot in 2010 and twelve months after the triumph of Merhawi Kudus, the 20 year old Natnael Tesfatsion is celebrating who managed to bring home the most prestigious success of his young career so far. The Eritrean national team was announced as one of the strongest teams competing here in Rwanda and did not betray the expectations by running with great tactical intelligence and maturity, which is not at all obvious given that we are talking about a group of five boys in which the most "Old" is only 25 years old and the youngest just 18.
This season started off very well for Tesfatsion who had won a stage at Tropicale Amissa Bongo last monthand had dressed for five days in the leader's jersey only to be mocked for just 1 ″ of rebate in the final stage, also thanks to his calculation error: a burning defeat, but it is also from these episodes that a young runner learns and increases the own wealth of experience. The memory of that terrible epilogue was still too fresh in the mind of the young Eritrean talent who in the interviews at the end of the race revealed that he was unable to sleep tonight: however, everything went the right way even in this difficult final stage and after the finish line the party broke loose. Now in his program there are the African Championships at the end of March, and to follow he will fly to Italy together with his compatriot Henok Mulubrhane to join for the second year atNTT Continental .
Climb that we will see at the 2025 World Cup?
The final stage of the Tour du Rwanda 2020 took place on a route of just 89.3 kilometers, but with seven mountain Grand Prix races that kept the outcome of the race very uncertain. After just 6.7 kilometers, the runners passed a first time on the finish line at the top of the Rebero stretch, a ramp of 1200 meters at 8.2% average characterized by a pavé: from here began a 41.3 kilometer circuit to be tackled twice , with the very hard and unprecedented climb of Mount Kigali and the now famous Mur de Kigali, before returning to Rebero. There was great anticipation for the ascent of Mount Kigali which is described overall as 5.8 kilometers at 6.4%, but which in fact consists of three very hard ramps connected by short stretches in which to catch a breath: the last wall in particular, a straight to the 12%,
If the candidacy to host the 2025 Road World Championships is successful (and there is a lot of confidence here), the local organizers will push for Mount Kigali and Mur de Kigali in the decisive laps at least of the elite test. male, perhaps after an initial non-trivial line, especially if the departure from Gisenyi in the district of Rubavu will be approved. To inaugurate Mount Kigali was the Estonian Rein Taaramäe who started the attack from the first kilometers to make sense of a race in which he hoped to be the protagonist and who instead after seven stages saw him with 46 minutes of delay in the standings: the Estonian of Total Direct Energie went alone on the first pass on arrival,
Mugisha attacks Mount Kigali
During the second lap, Taaramäe's precarious physical condition came out and began to lose a lot, also thanks to a clear acceleration by the group who went through a lot of fray at the second ascent of Rebero. On the second ascent of Mount Kigali, the Estonian Total Direct Energie runner was even taken up and left on the podium by Rwandan Eric Manizabayo (Benediction) who had just come out of a main group now closer. About one kilometer from the mountain grand prix, in the yellow jersey group there was also the expected attack by Moise Mugisha (Skol), second in the general classification, who tried everything to turn the classification upside down.
Previously Mugisha had drilled and had to spend some more energy to return to the group, also because the characteristics of the path did not allow a moment of relaxation, but with his shot he immediately managed to make a difference by also finding the collaboration of Manizabayo: between compatriots, although from different teams, a little help is normal and Eritrea also had "friends" with different shirts. However, Mugisha's advantage has never gone beyond 30 ″ and in the yellow jersey group a great job has been done by Henok Mulubrhan who has justly sacrificed his personal stage victory ambitions to make himself available to a bigger cause.
Diaz mockery Mugisha in the last meters
At the end of the race Moise Mugisha understood that there would not be much to do for the general, also because the chasing group reduced to a dozen men was always there about twenty seconds away. On the final wall of Rebero the young Rwandan from the Skol Adrien Cycling Academy has given all his energies to hunt for a stage victory that would have been well deserved after the third place in the Rubavu stage: and instead for the second consecutive year the Tour du Rwanda ends without success for the home runners, because poor Mugisha has been mocked by the 25 year old Spaniard José Manuel Diaz, an interesting climber who has been working for Nippo Delko Provence since this year. Diaz returned to Mugisha and jumped him in the final meters going to seize his first professional victory:
The order of arrival clearly highlights the hardness of this stage despite the reduced mileage: the runners all crossed the finish line with the South African Kent Main (ProTouch) third at 7 ", our Simone Ravanelli (Androni) fourth at 11 ″, the Swiss Patrick Schelling (Israel) fifth at 22 ″, the Eritrean Swedish passport Awet Andemeskel (Israel) sixth at 24 ″, the Frenchman Paul Ourselin and the Ethiopian Mulu Hailemichael at 31 ″, then the Eritreans Natnael Tesfatsion and Henok Mulubrhan at 39 ″ and finally the Colombian Jhonatan Restrepo eleventh at 43 ″, after having spent a lot previously to find the final podium.
The podium of the general remains unchanged
In the great final battle the men who climbed on the podium of the general classification were the same who occupied the first three provisional positions this morning: yellow jersey then in Natnael Tesfatsion with Moise Mugisha able to get closer and close second at 54 ″, a gap that must be sought in the empty passage in that of Rusizi. The third position went instead to the Swiss Patrick Schelling who in the final had a bad view: Kent Main attacked him several times, detached him in the last meters and in the end the difference between the two was just 2 ″, 1'32 "against 1'34" the detachments.
Androni-Sidermec can certainly be satisfied with this Tour du Rwanda with the four stage successes of Jhonatan Restrepo and the first place in the team standings: in general the best was Simone Ravanelli, fifth at 2'03 ", with Jhonatan Restrepo instead seventh at 2'25 ”missing by a whisker the sixth position of Quintero.