Eritrean rider Tesfazion Natnael claimed the 4th Stage of Tour du Rwanda from Rusizi to Rubavu district and claimed the yellow jersey, putting a +2’11” gap between himself and Rwanda’s Moise Mugisha, who is second on general classification.
The stage from Rusizi to Rubavu is the longest this year, covering 206.3km along the shores of Lake Kivu, running through the scenic Kivu Belt road.
In Rubavu, Tesfazion finished ahead of Main Kent of ProTouch and Mugisha, who rides for Skol Adrien Cycling Academy (SACA), securing the yellow jersey from fellow countryman Biniam Girmay Hailu who claimed it after the 3rd stage.
Hailu, who rides for Team Nippo Delko Provence finished a distant 16th in Rubavu surrendering the yellow jersey to Tesfazion.
The Eritreans, including those playing for other teams, have proved to be the riders to beat, putting up a tough challenge for fellow riders.
However Mugisha’s 3rd position finish has raised hopes again that a Rwandan rider can compete for the top position after he moved into 3rd on general list but he has a mountain to climb literally, given the 2’11” gap between him and the leader.
Tesfazion clocked 05h24’46”, 1 second ahead of Kent and 8 second ahead of Mugisha, claiming the yellow jersey. He also claimed the Best Young Rider and Best African Rider jerseys while his team, the Eritrean National team yet again emerged the best team.
Oyarzun Carlos (Bai Sicasal) emerged the Best Climber on Stage 4 while Manizabayo Eric of Benediction Ignite took the Best Combative Rider jersey and Mugisha the Best Rwandan rider.
After 4 stages, the Eritreans seem keen to claim the 2nd upgraded Tour du Rwanda which became tough for local riders last year after the 2.1 classification.
Federov Yevgeniy of Vino Astana Motors Cycling Club who claimed the yellow jersey for the first two stages of the tour fell a distant 22 in general classification.
Stage 5, which is much shorter than Stage 4, will start from Rubavu to Musanze on Thursday, covering 84.7km.