Eritrean Merhawi Kudus of Astana Pro Team has won the 11th Tour du Rwanda 2019 – in tough cycling journey that began last Sunday.
Kudus has been donning the Yellow Jersey for last 2 Stages even when he did not win them. It is because, in the much long and toughest stages, he had accumulated 7 seconds in the overall classification.
When the final Kigali stage was added, which involves a so called ‘Wall of Kigali” – a steep climb, Kudus was 10 seconds ahead of the next cyclist.
Colombian Rodrigo Contreras won this last Kigali-Kigali stage of 61.1km.
Kudus’ advantage was put together after winning the two stages of Kigali-Huye and Huye-Rubavu orderly. His Team Astana Pro also emerged top.
The win by Kudus immediately attracted a message of support from his people back home.
“Congrats to all: Merhawi KUDUS is winner of 11th Tour du Rwanda 2019; cheers to Eri-cycling,” said Yemane Meskel, the Information Minister, in a post on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Israel has also been represented. Matteo Badialatti from the Israeli team emerged 3rd overall.
However, no Rwandan cyclist has won any stage since Tour du Rwanda 2019 kicked off last weekend. All stages have gone to foreigners, indication that the 2.1 international category of Tour du Rwanda is such a big challenge.
Hundreds of thousands of Rwandans lined towns, trading centers, highways and hill tops to cheer up the riders.
Cycling has in recent years attracted more local supporters than any other sport, as others have not brought any trophy recently.
Kudus will take home the $4,000 cash prize, plus $3,200 for the 2 stages he won. There are also other prizes on offer for him.
He also awaits huge sponsorship deals as the hottest product today.
The teams head home to a much-needed rest and holiday following the grueling week in Rwanda.
Tour du Rwanda 2019 General Classification Top 5
- Merhawi Kudus (Astana Pro Team)-24h12’37”
- Rein Taaramae (Direct Energy)-24h12’47”
- Matteo Badialatti (Israel Cycling Academy)-24h12’55”
- Aguirre Ricardo (Interpol Cycling Academy)-24h13’08”
- Tesfom Sirak (Eritrea)-24h16’41”
– Areruya Joseph (Delko Marseille Province): Best Rwandan
– Marhawi Kudus (Astana Pro Team): Best African
– Moses Mugisha (Team Rwanda): King of Mountains
– Debesay Yakob( Eritrea): Best Young
– Du Plooy Rohan (Pro Touch): Best Sprinter
– Eritrea: Best team