Italian rider Manuele Tarozzi, who features for Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè, won the penultimate stage of Tour du Rwanda 2023, from Nyamata, Bugesera district, to Mont Kigali, to set up a tight contest ahead of Sunday’s 8th and final stage.
It is tight at the top in general classification with the first two, Henok Mulueberhane, Tarozzi’s teammate, and Calzoni Walter of Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team tying at 2:53.09 while the top 6, including Rwanda’s Eric Muhoza of Bike Aid, still stand a chance of winning the tour on Sunday.
Tarrozi was victorious after 115.8 kilometers in a stage that was characterised by huge crowds and a competitive edge as the riders will look to put in their final effort.
Tarozzi left the others on the way down to Ruliba, winning after clocking two hours, 58 minutes and 53 seconds, 32 seconds ahead of Bolton Equities’ Mark Stewart and Euskaltel Euskadi’s Unai Iribar.
The race continued to be a difficult one for local riders with Jean Bosco Nsengimana , who was one of the leaders of the race for a long time, yet again could not sustain his effort, finishing 12th at the summit of Mont Kigali.
Félicien Hakizimana of May Stars, who was with the leading pack most of the time only managed to finish 19th while Eric Muhoza, who presents Rwanda’s slim chance of winning Tour du Rwanda, came in 21st failing to improve on his 6th position, which leaves him with a gargantuan task of doing the unthinkable to remove the 8 seconds to win the final stage and perhaps the tour.
Eritrean Mulueberhane, who has been consistent since the beginning of the race, finished 17th to claim back they yellow jersey while Lecerf William Junior, who was wearing the yellow jersey, is third in the overall standings by one second, followed by Victor de la Parte (TotalEnergies) by three seconds and Anatolii Budiak (Terengganu Polygon) by four seconds.
The final stage, dubbed Canal Olympia-Canal Olympia, with a distance of 75.3 kilometers, will determine the winner of the race on Sunday, with the one who will conquer the ‘Wall of Kigali’ or ‘Mur du Kigali’ standing a chance to with the 15th edition of Tour du Rwanda.