Rwandan Jean Bosco Nsengimana ensured a bright start to his bid of winning the Tour du Rwanda 2017 as he registered the best time in the 3.3km Prologue on Sunday at Amahoro stadium.
The 2017 Tour of Rwanda begun today with a 3.3km prologue, starting and finishing at Kigali’s Amahoro Stadium.
Nsengimana emerged the fastest rider as he completed the four-minute course in three minutes and forty six seconds (3’46”) to break his initial best time of 3’52 set during 2015 Tour du Rwanda edition.
Nsengimana who goes into the second day of tour du Rwanda wearing a yellow jersey was closely followed by Tour du Rwanda defending champion Valens Ndayisenga in second position with 3’48 and South African Stefan De Bod (Dimension Data) in third position in 3’52 while another Rwandan Areruya Joseph who rides for South Africa’s Dimension Data finished a distant fourth in 3’54.
Tour du Rwanda gets to action on Monday with riders heading to Huye, over 120.3 kilometres. In the opening 80 kilometres, riders will tackle a category three climb, then two category two climbs to provide an impetus for the breakaway and welcome the peloton to ‘the country of a thousand hills’. A rolling final 30km kicks up with a category three climb inside the last kilometre to force a selection in the fight for stage honours.
For stage 2, the race heads slightly north to Nyanza, for the start of the longest stage in 2017 at 180.6km. From Nyanza, the race heads to the northwest for a stage finish on the shores of Lake Kivu at Rubavu. Of the six categorised climb in the stage, three are category one and should see a breakaway battle for KOM points. With a largely downhill final 15km, a select sprint finish looks to be on the cards.
The race remains close to the Congo border for stage 3 with Rubavu playing host. One of the shorter stages of the race, the peloton will cover 97.1 kilometres across the north with a category one climb mid-stage the major obstacle. First, though, the peloton complete four laps of a Rubavu circuit before bidding adieu. Musanze, the home of the Team Africa Rising Cycling Center, will host the finish of the stage.
Stage 4 on paper is one the hardest of the race with two category climbs inside the first half of the 120-kilometre stage that skirts the west of Kigali on its route south. Rolling out of Musanze, the peloton will immediately start climbing to 2100 metres and then drop down to start the second major and slightly higher climb of the day. A descent off the climb drops the riders down of the climb, followed by the final two category two, and category three climbs before the finish in Nyamata.
Nyamata doubles as the start host for stage 5 to begin the final third of the race. Heading north towards Kigali, the riders face a category 2 climb before turning towards the east and finish in Rwamagana. A small pave sector awaits the peloton before and after the summit of the first category three climb. The peloton then faces the second climb before entering Rwamagana for one circuit of the city and finish outside the Hotel Dereva.
Stage 6 is the shortest of the road stages at 86 kilometres and returns the peloton to Kigali. Starting in Kayonza, known for its Women’s Opportunity Center, the race heads east and passes back through Rwamagana on its way to Kigali. A category three climb comes early before three late category one climbs including the infamous and selective Mur de Kigali, or KN 18 Avenue, before the finish at the Stade Régional Nyamirambo.
The final stage of the Tour of Rwanda remains in Kigali with 10-laps of the capital starting and finishing at the Amahoro Stadium. A category four climb at the end of each lap is the major feature of the stage. The final day of racing provides an opportunity to attack and move up the rankings and force one final shake-out of the classifications.