The day before the start of the Tour du Rwanda, Alex Hoehn and his Wildlife Generation teammates were still waiting for the airline produce their race bikes so they could contest the eight-stage UCI 2.1-ranked race. They had landed three days earlier in Kigali and had a nervous wait as the hours ticked down for stage 1. But, on the morning of stage 1, the bags finally arrived and Hoehn put the pent up adrenaline to good use, taking second in the bunch sprint.
Hoehn maintained his podium position overall through four more tricky stages until he was caught behind a crash on a wet descent before the uphill finish on Mont Kigali and dropped to sixth overall behind eventual winner Cristian Rodriguez (Total Direct Energie).
He kept his wits about him, climbing one spot in the stage 7 individual time trial before having a brilliant ride on the final stage to claw his way back into third place overall.
"This was one of the best races I've done," Hoehn said to Cyclingnews. "It came with a lot of ups and downs throughout the week including our bikes not showing up until the day of the race, along with one of our staff members not able to come so we were already down one man for the week.
"As the smallest team there we rode like champs. The team came together to accomplish a big GC podium and we pulled through for a third overall. I couldn't be happier with how the staff and riders supported me all week. This truly is a team sport and I couldn't be happier to be apart of Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling."
After a 2020 season with hardly any racing due to the coronavirus pandemic, Hoehn and his teammates started the season with a series of races in Turkey. Hoehn was 13th overall in the Tour of Turkey and at the Tour of Mevlana, a 2.2-ranked stage race, eighth overall. He started the Tour du Rwanda with capable support from the experienced Serghei Tvetcov, Cormac McGeough, Spencer Petrov and Jason Salzman.
McGeough was impressed with the organisation of Tour du Rwanda. "The challenging race courses, the beautiful views, and the friendly Rwandan people were all fantastic, and I already hope to come back again in the future. The entire tour took place on roads with glass-like pavement as well (except for the cobblestones in the final stage) so this was also a plus," McGeough said.
"The team rode really well together. Serghei's experience and Alex's drive made a great team here for this race and the fantastic result we achieved of 3rd place on GC reflects this. Thank you to the Tour of Rwanda for having us."
Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news.
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