Tour du Rwanda 2018: Moods already up
Written by: Jeje Muhinde
Thursday, August 2nd, 2018, 9:41
As usual, the common features of this year’s Tour of Rwanda will be bunch sprints, mountain climbs, some crashes and withdraws when the riders cover the 948.6 kilometers in 8 stages.
A total of 16 teams from across the world will compete in the 10th edition of the popular continental race slated to start on August 5th.
Among them are two teams from host Rwanda, Algerians of the Union Cycling Continental Team, Groupement Sportif Petrolier Angolans of Bai Sicasal, Americans of Marc Pro Gym One, plus the Germans of Team Embrace the World.
What is most likely to make this year’s race even more exciting for the cycling enthusiasts, is the new entrants from Asia and Europe.
These include; Tirol Cycling Team (Austria), Dukla Banska Bystrica (Slovakia), Interpro Cycling Academy (Japan) and the National Cycling team of Mauritius.
One of the new elements this year is the absence of a prologue time trial opening stage from the capital Kigali for the first time since its creation in 2009.
This means, whoever wins the relatively 104 kilometers stage to start/finish in Eastern district of Rwamagana will get to wear the yellow jersey first.
Winning Stage 1 should be another one for the handy Team Rwanda sprinters to melt away from the peloton.
On the menu, if stage 2 is to go down well, it could be drama when riders cover a grueling 120.3km distance from Kigali-Huye to finish with a sprint.
After two tense days on the tour, Stage 3 which is the longest in the history of the tour is set to be hugely important for the General Classification (GC) contenders with 195km from Huye-Musanze.
Stage 4 will be another long stage on the menu nearly 135km between Musanze-Karongi and it should give the classic specialists another chance of a stage victory.
It won’t be easy going in this stage, with a host of major climbs on the second half of the stage; there will definitely be some tired legs after some hours on a cheerful day. At 95.1km, Stage 5 is the second shortest stage of the tour from Karongi-Rubavu, however, it promises to be fast and furious nearly with an altitude of 2158m, and it is essentially a mountain sprint with some tough climbs.
Stage 6 of Tour of Rwanda, is another mountainous stage of the race, this 108km stage starts from Rubavu-Kinigi for tourists purposes according to the explanation from organizers the Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY).
Stage 7 is the perhaps the other ultimate chance for GC’s riders to hammer down as they box into battle for the yellow jersey.
This 107km stage from Musanze-Kigali should give the riders a bit of breather before the final shootout in the last stage since it will give them an opportunity to still another victory.
The last parade for the remaining survivors of the 2018 Tour of Rwanda will be the traditional stage 8 in Kigali with 82.2km on the final day.
Looking at this year’s start list of riders, there is a stark generation divided among those tipped for success like last year’s Rwandan champion Joseph Areruya.
On one hand, there are familiar names from the old guard like 2016 victor Jean-Bosco Nsengimana, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana and Eretria’s Metkel Eyob a record fifth stage winner.