Date: Sunday, 19 February 2023
Ethan Vernon has won the first stage in the Tour of Rwanda . The 22-year-old super talent of Soudal-Quick Step , who competes in the Rwandan round for the training team of the Belgian formation, was the strongest in the bunch sprint in the streets of Rwamagana. Emilien Jeannière (TotalEnergies) finished second several bike lengths behind, Henok Mulubrhan (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè) was third.
The Tour of Rwanda has been a fixture on the cycling calendar since 2009. In 2022, the overall victory went to the Eritrean Natnael Tesfatsion. The 2023 edition also had a number of interesting names at the start, with Soudal-Quick Step sprinter Vernon, Daniel Teklahaimanot (Eritrean selection), Carl Frederik Hagen (Q36.5 Cycling Team) and four-time Tour winner Chris Froome, who preceded indicated on the opening stage that they have a lot of confidence in the future of African cycling , to stand out.
The first of a total of eight Rwandan journeys covered a distance of 115 kilometers from Kigali Gulf to Rwamagana. From the opening phase, two brave riders chose the hare path. New Zealander James Fouché (Bolton Equities Black Spoke) and home rider Jean Bosco Nsengimana (Rwandan selection) embarked on a duo venture. This attempt immediately seemed short-lived, as the Soudal-Quick Step training team kept a close eye on everything. The Belgian team controlled the peloton and ensured that the duo had started a fight against the finish line at the front.