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Gallery: Youngest rider in race claims Rwanda opener

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Merhawi Kudus (UCI Continental Center) wins stage1 in Tour of

Merhawi Kudus (UCI Continental Center) wins stage1 in Tour of
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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National Team South Africa gets the first place in the team

National Team South Africa gets the first place in the team
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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A landscape from stage1, Tour of Rwanda 2012

A landscape from stage1, Tour of Rwanda 2012
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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A landscape from stage1, Tour of Rwanda 2012

A landscape from stage1, Tour of Rwanda 2012
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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A landscape from stage1, Tour of Rwanda 2012

A landscape from stage1, Tour of Rwanda 2012
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Jock Boyer (Team Rwanda) at the start

Jock Boyer (Team Rwanda) at the start
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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The race reader Pelletier Roy Remi (Team Quebecor Garneau) at

The race reader Pelletier Roy Remi (Team Quebecor Garneau) at
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Niyonshuti Adrien (Team Rwanda Karisimbi) gets the best

Niyonshuti Adrien (Team Rwanda Karisimbi) gets the best
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Maree David (National Team South Africa) gets the mountain

Maree David (National Team South Africa) gets the mountain
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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The yellow jersey goes to Ward Shaun (National Team South Africa)

The yellow jersey goes to Ward Shaun (National Team South Africa)
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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The stage winner, Merhawi Kudus (UCI Continental Center)

The stage winner, Merhawi Kudus (UCI Continental Center)
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Four riders break away to the finish line

Four riders break away to the finish line
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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A landscape from stage1, Tour of Rwanda 2012

A landscape from stage1, Tour of Rwanda 2012
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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A landscape from stage1, Tour of Rwanda 2012

A landscape from stage1, Tour of Rwanda 2012
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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Team Rwanda Akagera leads the main group

Team Rwanda Akagera leads the main group
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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A landscape from stage1, tour of Rwanda 2012

A landscape from stage1, tour of Rwanda 2012
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)
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After the race finish, a Rwandan rider takes a rest

After the race finish, a Rwandan rider takes a rest
(Image credit: Sonoko Tanaka)

The youngest rider in the race, Merhawi Kudus has claimed the opening road stage at the Tour of Rwanda. The Eritrean rider who will turn 19 in January next year sprinted ahead of his breakaway companions in the final metres to claim the victory in the 148km stage. Fellow escapee Shaun Ward took the yellow jersey.

"I did not want to be in a group, and when you took the first flight went with five men, I tried. From there the team told me to do what I felt," Kudas told Gazzetta Dello Sport.

The race kicked off with a prologue and will test the compact 66-rider field over the eight-stage event. Current Orica-GreenEdge rider Daniel Teklehaymanot won the race overall in 2010 however, the neo-professional is not at this year’s edition.

Team Type 1 has made a return to the race which they won with Kiel Reijnen in 2011 however, the former winner is also absent from this year’s edition.

Tomorrow will offer a split day with two short but demanding stages which reach nearly 2,000m in altitude.