Home Sports Jonathan Vervenne Wins Stage One As Tour du Rwanda 2024 Tips Off

Jonathan Vervenne Wins Stage One As Tour du Rwanda 2024 Tips Off

by Eddy Abayisenga
5:22 pm

 Belgian rider Jonathan Vervenne chalked up the first yellow jersey of Tour du Rwanda 2024 on Sunday afternoon when his team, Soudal Quick-Step, clinched stage one, Team Time Trial (TTT), a newly-formed circuit.

The 20-year-old rider and his team won the first stage of the 16th edition, clocking 20 minutes and 32 seconds on an 18.3-km circuit that started at BK Arena and finished at Kigali Convention Center.

Chris Froome’s Israel-Premier Tech came in second place using 21 minutes and eight seconds, while Lotto–Dstny, a Belgian professional cycling team, emerged third, 16 seconds behind.

Team Rwanda, one of three Rwandan representatives, finished ninth out of 19 teams vying for the coveted reward.

Tour du Rwanda 2024 was officially flagged off by Sports Minister Aurora Mimosa Munyangaju alongside City of Kigali Mayor Samuel Dusengiyumva, and debutant May Star, one of three representatives of Rwanda, was the first to hit the road.

Jonathan Vervenne

This year’s edition of Tour du Rwanda will cover a total distance of 718.9 kilometres, making it the shortest-ever since 2009. The 2.1-rated race, underway in Rwanda from February 18 to 25, has attracted 94 riders from 19 teams vying in eight stages.

The Dutch professional cycling team, Team dsm–firmenich PostNL, bowed out from the race at the last-gasp minute due to the illness of two of their riders.

Organized by the Rwanda Cycling Federation (FERWACY) and Ministry of Sports, Tour du Rwanda has been rated on a 2.1 level on the UCI Africa Tour since 2019. Since then, no Rwandan rider has won the race, and Moise Mugisha is the only Rwandan rider to win a stage, a milestone he attained in February 2022 while riding for South African cycling team Protouch.

Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome was among 94 riders who commenced their quest to win a sought-after Tour du Rwanda award.

This is the second time the Kenyan-British rider has taken part in this race, having fired a blank in last year’s edition.

“I had a good race last year unfortunately no victories, but this year I’ll be searching again to try and set the record straight. This is my first race of the season, so I’m not sure yet what the level I’m going to be at, but I’m looking forward to giving one hundred per cent, I’m here to do my best,” he told the media on Friday, February 16, after his team celebrated the first anniversary of The Field of Dreams, a cycling centre initiated by the Israeli cycling team in 2023.

The race resumes on Monday, with bicyclists competing in stage two, covering 129.4 kilometres from Muhanga to Kibeho and hitting the road at 11 a.m.

All the stages of Tour du Rwanda 2024:

Stage 1: BK Arena – Kigali Convention Center (18.3km)

Stage 2: Muhanga – Kibeho (129.4 km)

Stage 3: Huye – Rusizi (140.3 km)

Stage 4: Karongi- Rubavu (93km)

Stage 5: Musanze- Kinigi Kwita Izina (Individual Time Trial: 13km)

Stage 6: Musanze – Mont Kigali (93.3 km)

Stage 7: Rukomo – Kayonza (158 km)

Stage 8:  Kigali Convention Center – Kigali Convention Center (73.6 km)

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