Ndayisenga wins 819-km Tour of Rwanda cycling race

Kigali, Nov 21 (IANS) Rwanda’s Valens Ndayisenga, riding for South Africa-based Continental Team Dimension Data, won the eighth edition of the Tour of Rwanda cycling race at the Amahoro National Stadium here.

The 2014 winner needed 21:15:21 hrs to finish the race on Sunday, covering seven stages and a prologue, a total distance of 818.7 km, reports Xinhua news agency.

The 22-year-old from eastern Rwanda’s Rwamagana district beat his teammate Eyob Metkel, who finished 39 seconds behind in second place, clocking 21:16:00.

In a tweet, Rwandan President Paul Kagame congratulated Ndayisenga for what he described as a thrilling Tour of Rwanda.

“Thanks to all riders and Rwandans who came out to watch and cheer,” the tweet said.

Eritrean Tesfom Okubamariam emerged in third, at timing 21:16:51. Okubamariam won the final Kigali-Kigali stage, covering 108 km.

Defending champion Jean-Bosco Nsengimana of Germany’s Stradalli Bike Aid finished in a distant 9th position in the general classification in 21:20:24.

Ndayisenga is the first rider to win the UCI Africa Tour, a category 2.2 road race, more than once.

Speaking to the press, Ndayisenga said it was a well-deserved win, considering his preparation. He dedicated the win to his parents who were there to congratulate him, and to all Rwandans.

Last year’s runner-up, Joseph Areruya, riding for Les Amis Sportifs de Rwamagana, finished fourth in 21:18:13.

Ndayisenga, who walked away with $1,900 on top of other prizes, is the first rider to win the Tour of Rwanda twice since it became part of UCI Africa Tour in 2009.

This year’s race attracted over 70 riders representing 15 teams.

Rwanda had a total of 15 riders divided into three teams. These included Team Rwanda, Les Amis Sportif de Rwamagana, and Benediction Club with five riders each.

Among the 12 foreign teams were five national teams — Cameroon, South Africa, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Algeria — four UCI continental teams, including Dimension Data For Qhubeka (South Africa), Cycling Academy Team (Israel), Kenyan Riders Downunder (Kenya), and Stradalli-Bike Aid (Germany).

Others were Team Furniture Decarte (Switzerland), Team Lowestrates.com (Canada), and Team Haute-Savoie Rhone-Alpes (France).

This year’s edition had a total distance of 818.7 km, some 20.593 metres more than last year’s, and included a total of 38 climbing stages.

–IANS

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