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Debesai takes solo win

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Spectacular landscape greeted the riders on stage five.

Spectacular landscape greeted the riders on stage five. (Image credit: Cynthia Lou/Team Type 1)
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The crowds gather for the Tour of Rwanda.

The crowds gather for the Tour of Rwanda. (Image credit: Cynthia Lou/Team Type 1)
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The peloton during the early phase of stage 5.

The peloton during the early phase of stage 5. (Image credit: Cynthia Lou/Team Type 1)
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The break tackles an incline on stage 5 of the Tour of Rwanda.

The break tackles an incline on stage 5 of the Tour of Rwanda. (Image credit: Cynthia Lou/Team Type 1)
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The riders faced some testing roads on stage 5 of the Tour of Rwanda.

The riders faced some testing roads on stage 5 of the Tour of Rwanda. (Image credit: Cynthia Lou/Team Type 1)
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Breaking clear on the road to Kigali.

Breaking clear on the road to Kigali. (Image credit: Cynthia Lou/Team Type 1)

Rwandan national champion Adrien Niyonshuti kept the lead of the Tour of Rwanda's general classification on Saturday after stage 5, but his advantage is under increasing threat from Eritrean riders. One of them, Frekalsi Debesai, claimed victory at the Regional Stadium in Kigali, the capital of the country, while his teammate Araya Medhin Dawit Haile made it an Eritrean one-two by following home 19 seconds later.

The 158.2km stage from Gisenyi to Kigali took place over constantly undulating roads and opened with a 30km ascent. The main favourites neutralized their battle as a result unorganized attacks, until the penultimate climb, when the yellow jersey was dropped. Niyonshuto lost up 1:35 to some big contenders such as the former race leader, Tesfai Teklit (Eritrea). At the finish the suspense was electric for the crowd as the UCI commissaires waited almost a quarter of an hour before confirming that then Rwanda rising star still was the in the yellow jersey.

From the first climb, Niyonshuti was harassed by his rivals, especially by the South African and Moroccan all rounders and by the Ethiopinan Estifanos Gebresilassie, 10th overall, who was virtual leader for a few minutes when he was part of a fourteen-rider breakaway. The stage was then lit up by a very long escape containg Niyonshuti’s teammate Nyandwi Uwase and the Libyan Fathi Ahmed Atunsi.

Born in Gisenyi, the start town of the stage, Uwase launched his attack in Ruhengeri, the headquarters of the Rwanda Project and Team Rwanda. “I felt strong today, I really was thinking I could win the stage,” he said. Obviously euphoric to be in front, he didn't wait for his breakaway companion on a climb, and then wore himself out by riding alone on the following flat sector into a headwind. He was finally dropped in the penultimate ascent at 41 kilometers to go and Ahmed Atunsi, five-time Libyan champion in the time trial and road race, went on a solo breakaway that lasted to the final ten kilometres.

On the same ascent, attacks were launched in the main peloton and four riders caught Ahmed Atunsi: Abdelati Saadoune (Morocco), Jason Bakke (South Africa), Julien Schick (CA Castelsarrasin) and Evert Verbist (Flanders Avia Team). 6km from the finish, the Eritrean Frekalsi Debesai came back to the head group and immediately attacked. “Because the guys were slow and I had very good legs,” he explained. He took the win, nineteen seconds clear of his fellow countryman Dawit Haile and South African Bakke.

Debesai, aged 27, took his own national championships this year, was second on a stage of Tour of Libya stage and fourth at the GP Al Fatah in the same country. “I'm very happy to win in Rwanda because I didn't do anything until now apart supporting my team-mates,” he told Cyclingnews.

In the African Continental Championships last Sunday, Debesai exploded off the front before breaking his bike and crossing the line in 7th position. Since that accident he has been using a machine that is too big for him, 58cm frame rather than a 54.

Rwanda national coach Jock Boyer was pleased at the finish. “It's one thing to take the yellow jersey but we know it's much harder to defend it,” he said. “Fortunately Adrien Niyonshuti had a very good team to support him today.”

Sports physiologist Clark Natwick, involved in the Project of Rwanda, added that the riders had specifically undertaken team time trial and tempo training before the race.

In the general classification, Niyonshuti's Eritrean rivals reduved the deficit to eight seconds (Teklit), ten seconds (Natnael Berhane) and 1:12 (Teklehaimanot). Suffering with a throat problem, Namibian Dan Craven (UCI Continental Center), 3rd this morning, lost twenty-four minutes, but his team-mate Grmay remains 8th at 2:05. Some of the other contenders to maintain their positions include South African Janse Van Rensburg (5th at 1:25), Moroccan Jelloul (6th at 1:44) and Eritrean Russom (7th at 1:47). They all hope to take the lead in the last four stages, but Sunday is for all a well deserved rest day.



#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Frekalsi Debesai (Eri) Eritrea4:26:33
2Araya Medhin Dawit Haile (Eri) Eritrea0:00:19
3Jasson Bakke (RSA) South Africa
4Abdelati Saadoune (Mar) Morocco0:00:21
5Julien Schick (Fra) C.A. Castelsarrasin0:00:36
6Nathan Byukusenge (Rwa) Rwanda0:00:49
7Evert Verbist (Bel) Flanders Avia Team0:01:29
8Nyandwi Uwase (Rwa) Rwanda0:01:35
9Sollomon Bittew Shiferaw (Eth) UCI Continental Center
10Tesfai Teklit (Eri) Eritrea
11Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) South Africa0:01:49
12Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) Eritrea0:02:04
13Fathi Ahmed Atunsi (Lba) Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
14Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) South Africa
15Adil Jelloul (Mar) Morocco
16Tsgabu Gebremaryam Grmay (Eth) UCI Continental Center0:02:09
17Adrien Niyonshuti (Rwa) Rwanda
18Teweldemedhin Natnael Berhane (Eri) Eritrea
19Meron Russom (Eri) Eritrea0:02:12
20Tarik Chaoufi (Mar) Morocco0:02:29
21Luthando Kaka (RSA) South Africa0:02:32
22Gasore Hategeka (Rwa) Rwanda
23Estifanos Gebresilassie (Eth) UCI Continental Center0:02:44
24Issiaka Fofana (CIv) Ivory Coast0:02:51
25Paul Agorir (Ken) Kenya0:03:13
26Benjamin Trouche (Fra) C.A. Castelsarrasin0:04:22
27Gabriel Combrinck (RSA) South Africa0:04:34
28Amr Mahmoud Ahmed Mohamed (Egy) Egypt
29Javier Megias-Leal (Spa) Team Type 10:07:07
30Kipchumba Benjamin Kogo (Ken) Kenya0:07:10
31Emmanuel Rudahunga (Rwa) Rwanda
32Mouhssine Lahsaini (Mar) Morocco
33David Matovu (Uga) Mixt Team Grands Lacs0:07:31
34Med Said El Ammoury (Mar) Morocco
35Youssef Belgasem Ahmed (Lba) Libyan Arab Jamahiriya0:07:36
36Eddin Asran Osamahussam (Egy) Egypt0:07:38
37Guy Smet (Bel) Flanders Avia Team0:07:44
38Issiaka Cisse (CIv) Ivory Coast0:09:53
39Jean De Dieu Uwimana (Rwa) Rwanda0:11:38
40Obed Ruvogera (Rwa) Rwanda
41Samuel Ekiru (Ken) Kenya0:12:11
42Bram Delie (Bel) Flanders Avia Team0:14:57
43Guillaume Soula (Fra) C.A. Castelsarrasin
44Peter Loriko (Ken) Kenya0:17:02
45Samuel Mwangi (Ken) Kenya0:17:10
46Ali Al-Sayed Ali Abdullah (Egy) Egypt
47Faysal Alsharaa (Lba) Libyan Arab Jamahiriya0:19:50
48Ibrahim James Yousef (Egy) Egypt
49Fabio Calabria (Aus) Team Type 1
50Adnane Aarbia (Mar) Morocco
51Obert Chembe (Zam) UCI Continental Center
52John Delong (USA) C.A. Castelsarrasin
53Innocent Uwamungu (Rwa) Rwanda0:20:01
54Issa Ntibitura (Rwa) Rwanda0:20:29
55Sah Noel Tanessop (Cmr) Cameroon0:20:35
56Chris Germain (Sey) Seychelles0:20:48
57Stradford James Helms (USA) Team Type 1
58Alex Bowden (USA) Team Type 1
59Philip Van Baele (Bel) Flanders Avia Team0:21:35
60Ahmed Mohamed Abdalla (Lba) Libyan Arab Jamahiriya0:21:40
61Joeri Calleeuw (Bel) Flanders Avia Team
62Trust Munangandu (Zam) UCI Continental Center0:23:55
63Robert Tawedi Modi (Cmr) Cameroon0:25:34
64Dan Craven (Nam) UCI Continental Center
65Eric Sinamenye (Rwa) Rwanda0:26:06
66Innocent Sibomana (Rwa) Rwanda0:27:02
67Mohamed Ali Almabruk (Lba) Libyan Arab Jamahiriya0:27:19
68Raoul Herve Mbah (Cmr) Cameroon0:28:54
69Amin Abdelrazag Alkilani (Lba) Libyan Arab Jamahiriya0:30:21
70Mahmoud Mohamed Alaa Eddin (Egy) Egypt0:31:01
71Simeon Green (GBr) C.A. Castelsarrasin
72Mohamed Saad Abou Hegazy (Egy) Egypt0:32:25
DNFMartijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Type 1
DNFAlex Bowden (USA) Team Type 1

General classification after stage 5:
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Adrien Niyonshuti (Rwa) Rwanda14:59:20
2Tesfai Teklit (Eri) Eritrea0:00:08
3Teweldemedhin Natnael Berhane (Eri) Eritrea0:00:10
4Daniel Teklehaimanot (Eri) Eritrea0:01:12
5Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) South Africa0:01:25
6Adil Jelloul (Mar) Morocco0:01:44
7Meron Russom (Eri) Eritrea0:01:47
8Tsgabu Gebremaryam Grmay (Eth) UCI Continental Center0:02:05
9Abdelati Saadoune (Mar) Morocco0:03:37
10Frekalsi Debesai (Eri) Eritrea0:04:10
11Julien Schick (Fra) C.A. Castelsarrasin0:04:16
12Estifanos Gebresilassie (Eth) UCI Continental Center0:04:47
13Paul Agorir (Ken) Kenya0:07:10
14Nathan Byukusenge (Rwa) Rwanda0:10:40
15Gabriel Combrinck (RSA) South Africa0:11:14
16Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) South Africa0:12:42
17Sollomon Bittew Shiferaw (Eth) UCI Continental Center0:12:45
18Jasson Bakke (RSA) South Africa0:20:00
19Luthando Kaka (RSA) South Africa0:21:11
20Fathi Ahmed Atunsi (Lba) Libyan Arab Jamahiriya0:21:13
21Araya Medhin Dawit Haile (Eri) Eritrea0:21:25
22Tarik Chaoufi (Mar) Morocco0:23:26
23Gasore Hategeka (Rwa) Rwanda0:23:28
24Dan Craven (Nam) UCI Continental Center0:24:02
25Nyandwi Uwase (Rwa) Rwanda0:24:22
26Emmanuel Rudahunga (Rwa) Rwanda0:26:06
27Issiaka Fofana (CIv) Ivory Coast0:28:45
28Eddin Asran Osamahussam (Egy) Egypt0:30:27
29Amr Mahmoud Ahmed Mohamed (Egy) Egypt0:32:24
30Issiaka Cisse (CIv) Ivory Coast0:33:29
31Mouhssine Lahsaini (Mar) Morocco0:33:50
32Obed Ruvogera (Rwa) Rwanda0:35:12
33Med Said El Ammoury (Mar) Morocco0:35:29
34Benjamin Trouche (Fra) C.A. Castelsarrasin0:37:06
35Javier Megias-Leal (Spa) Team Type 10:37:39
36Ibrahim James Yousef (Egy) Egypt0:38:43
37Jean De Dieu Uwimana (Rwa) Rwanda0:39:26
38Evert Verbist (Bel) Flanders Avia Team0:40:17
39Bram Delie (Bel) Flanders Avia Team0:40:42
40Adnane Aarbia (Mar) Morocco0:42:55
41Samuel Mwangi (Ken) Kenya0:46:24
42Guillaume Soula (Fra) C.A. Castelsarrasin0:48:25
43Philip Van Baele (Bel) Flanders Avia Team0:52:09
44Kipchumba Benjamin Kogo (Ken) Kenya0:52:15
45Peter Loriko (Ken) Kenya0:53:28
46Joeri Calleeuw (Bel) Flanders Avia Team0:54:46
47Ahmed Mohamed Abdalla (Lba) Libyan Arab Jamahiriya0:56:16
48David Matovu (Uga) Mixt Team Grands Lacs0:57:18
49Mohamed Ali Almabruk (Lba) Libyan Arab Jamahiriya0:57:55
50Obert Chembe (Zam) UCI Continental Center0:58:53
51Guy Smet (Bel) Flanders Avia Team1:04:13
52Innocent Uwamungu (Rwa) Rwanda1:05:17
53Youssef Belgasem Ahmed (Lba) Libyan Arab Jamahiriya1:05:35
54Mohamed Saad Abou Hegazy (Egy) Egypt1:05:38
55John Delong (USA) C.A. Castelsarrasin1:05:40
56Chris Germain (Sey) Seychelles1:05:57
57Ali Al-Sayed Ali Abdullah (Egy) Egypt1:06:34
58Samuel Ekiru (Ken) Kenya1:13:29
59Raoul Herve Mbah (Cmr) Cameroon1:17:21
60Faysal Alsharaa (Lba) Libyan Arab Jamahiriya1:20:08
61Innocent Sibomana (Rwa) Rwanda1:20:24
62Sah Noel Tanessop (Cmr) Cameroon1:29:45
63Robert Tawedi Modi (Cmr) Cameroon1:30:45
64Issa Ntibitura (Rwa) Rwanda1:33:45
65Mahmoud Mohamed Alaa Eddin (Egy) Egypt1:35:49
66Trust Munangandu (Zam) UCI Continental Center1:41:16
67Fabio Calabria (Aus) Team Type 11:46:32
68Amin Abdelrazag Alkilani (Lba) Libyan Arab Jamahiriya1:47:53
69Simeon Green (GBr) C.A. Castelsarrasin1:50:35
70Alex Bowden (USA) Team Type 11:52:05
71Eric Sinamenye (Rwa) Rwanda2:02:36
72Stradford James Helms (USA) Team Type 12:05:14


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