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Tour of Rwanda: Pellaud wins longest stage to move into overall lead

Simon Pellaud (Team Illuminate) celebrating his victory

Simon Pellaud (Team Illuminate) celebrating his victory (Image credit: Tour of Rwanda)

For the third day in succession, Tour of Rwanda stage victory came with the race leader's yellow jersey. After the Rwandan duo of Jean Bosco Nsengimana (Rwanda National Team) and Joseph Areruya (Dimension Date for Qhubeka) wowed the home crowds with their victories, Simon Pellaud (Team Illuminate) silenced the locals in Rubavu with a solo victory on stage 2.

The Illuminate rider made his move on the last of the six categorised climbs as the rain began to fall in western Rwanda, but it was on the descent into the Lake Kivu city of Rubavu that he padded out his advantage. Crossing the line after several gestures of celebration, Pellaud had ample time to soak in the occasion before Mathieu Jeannes (Haute Savoie Auvergne) crossed in second place, 1:30 down, just ahead of Didier Munyameza (Rwanda National Team).

Having started the day in yellow, Joseph Areruya now sits in second place overall, one minute behind Pellaud, with defending champion Valens Ndayisenga (Tirol) third at 1:17.

"It is my first UCI win and I was so close so many times and now I am just enjoying it," an ecstatic Pellaud told Cyclingnews. "I will wear the yellow jersey tomorrow and that is crazy. I am super happy. With this win, our team has now won on four continents, and I couldn't be happier to be part of that. I had my chance and I took it."

While Pellaud was revelling in his visits to the podium and his first interviews as a winner, Areruya cut a discontent figure in the wings. The Dimension Data for Qhubeka rider was brief in his answers but vowed his race isn't over, and said he will try again for a stage and yellow jersey.

Of the general classification riders, 2015 champion Nsengimana was the biggest loser as he seemingly paid for his aggressive riding and slipped from third to tenth overall, and he now lies 2:15 adrift of Pellaud. Pellaud, however, expects the yellow jersey to return to the shoulders of a Rwandan rider after stage 3 to Musanze.

"No, I am not thinking about the overall at all," Pellaud explained. "I got dropped every single climb today so I will enjoy my day in yellow tomorrow. Just 90 kilometres tomorrow with a big mountain to climb up, but I am sure tomorrow night the jersey will be back on the shoulders of a Rwandan. Don't worry about me being there in yellow on Sunday, I am here to win a stage and I did it. I am super happy with that."

How it unfolded

The earliest start and longest stage of this year's Tour of Rwanda resulted in a nervous and rushed peloton in anticipation of the 180-kilometre stage from Nyanza to Rubavu. The opening salvo of the race was a reverse of yesterday's finale until the peloton headed left for Lake Kivu, rather than right for Kigali, and ventured into mountains at an altitude in excess of 2,000 metres.

Despite the 8:30am departure, riders were quick to attack and attempt to establish a breakaway. Eric Nduwayo (Club Benediction) and Samuel Hakiruwizeye (Les Amis Sportifs) kicked things off before Jean Damascene Ruberwa (Club Benediction) and Geoffrey Langat (Bike Aid) jumped across. Although hilly, the first 60 kilometres of the race featured just one categorised climb to soften the legs before the climbing started in earnest.

On approach to the second KOM, the peloton had decided to swallow up the break but was content to let Edward Greene ( counter-attack and quickly build a two-minute lead. In the bunch, the selection had started to come as the 2,000-metre elevation took its toll.

The shakedown came quickly once it started with Nsengimana and Pellaud the main aggressors. With communication limited in the high mountains as the rain started to settle in, the attacks were coming thick and fast. Greene found himself back in the reduced bunch as the Rwandan national team upped the tempo. Areruya and Nsengimana were then the main aggressors on the climbs while Pellaud was the quickest on the descents.

Anticipating the fast and technical descent off the last categorised climb with 30km to race, Pellaud made his move on the final ascent, riding away from the 10-rider group. He then doubled down on his advantage ahead of the finale, extending his lead on the drop into Rubavu to the disappointment of the parochial Rwandan fans.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Simon Pellaud (Sui) Team Illuminate4:32:30
2Matthieu Jeannes (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes0:01:30
3Didier Munyameza (Rwa) Rwanda National Team
4Suleiman Kangangi (Ken) Bike Aid
5Metkel Eyob (Eri) Dimension Data For Qhubeka
6Tesfom Okubamariam (Eri) Eritrea National Team0:01:33
7Valens Ndayisenga (Rwa) Tirol Cycling Team
8Patrick Byukusenge (Rwa) Rwanda National Team
9Jean Bosco Nsengimana (Rwa) Rwanda National Team0:02:33
10Joseph Areruya (Rwa) Dimension Data For Qhubeka0:02:46
11Kibrom Giday (Eth) Ethiopia National Team0:02:53
12Nikodemus Holler (Ger) Bike Aid0:03:37
13Gasore Hategeka (Rwa) Club Benediction0:04:42
14Bonaventure Uwizeyimana (Rwa) Club Benediction0:04:43
15Salim Kipkemboi (Ken) Bike Aid0:04:46
16Kent Main (RSA) Dimension Data For Qhubeka0:04:47
17Brett Wachtendorf (USA) Lowestrates.ca0:04:49
18Adne Van Engelen (Ned) Bike Aid0:06:02
19Christopher Rougier-Lagane (Mri) Mauritius National Team
20Olivier Le Court De Billot (Mri) Mauritius National Team
21Ephrem Tuyishimire (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs
22Jean Claude Uwizeye (Rwa) Rwanda National Team
23Azzedine Lagab (Alg) Algeria National Team0:10:09
24Jean Claude Mfitumukiza (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs0:10:12
25Valentin Goudin (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes0:10:14
26Tamrat Meresa Gebrewahd (Eth) Ethiopia National Team
27Stefan De Bod (RSA) Dimension Data For Qhubeka
28Aron Debretsion (Eri) Eritrea National Team
29Eric Nduwayo (Rwa) Club Benediction
30Natnael Mebrahtom (Eri) Eritrea National Team
31Jean Damascene Ruberwa (Rwa) Club Benediction
32Amanueal Tsegay (Eri) Eritrea National Team
33Saymon Musie Mehari (Eri) Eritrea National Team
34Samuel Mugisha (Rwa) Dimension Data For Qhubeka0:10:25
35Sylvain Clavel (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes0:14:51
36Moran Vermeulen (Aut) Tirol Cycling Team
37John Kariuki (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom0:15:08
38Griffin Easter (USA) Team Illuminate0:15:46
39Jean Paul René Ukiniwabo (Rwa) Rwanda National Team0:17:43
40Joshphat Gathiambo (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom0:18:38
41Fiseha Gebremariam (Eth) Ethiopia National Team
42Geoffrey Langat (Ken) Bike Aid0:18:41
43Edward Greene (RSA) Lowestrates.ca0:18:42
44Janvier Rugamba (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs0:18:54
45Sébastien Fournet Fayard (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes0:19:21
46Redwan Ebrahim (Eth) Ethiopia National Team0:22:01
47Alex Nizeyimana (Rwa) Club Benediction
48Daniel Knapp (Aut) Tirol Cycling Team0:22:03
49Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Col) Team Illuminate
50Alexandre Mayer (Mri) Mauritius National Team0:22:05
51Jules Cusson Fradet (Can) Lowestrates.ca0:23:15
52Islam Mansouri (Alg) Algeria National Team
53Tedros Redae (Eth) Ethiopia National Team0:23:17
54Nicolas Roux (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes
55Jimmy Uwingeneye (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs0:26:12
56Yannick Lincoln (Mri) Mauritius National Team0:26:45
57Matthew How Saw Keng (Mri) Mauritius National Team
58Cameron McPhaden (Can) Lowestrates.ca0:32:20
59Stephen Keeping (Can)
60Andrew Kimutai (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom
61Cornelius Kipkemboi Kiplagat (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom0:38:19
62Abderrahmane Mansouri (Alg) Algeria National Team
63Martin Vlcák (Svk) Dukla Banska Bystrica0:42:45
64Kelvin Kipng'etich Kiplagat (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom0:43:11
65Yacine Hamza (Alg) Algeria National Team0:50:14
66Mehdi Lounis (Alg) Algeria National Team0:50:26
67Samuel Oros (Svk) Dukla Banska Bystrica
68Samuel Hakiruwizeye (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs0:54:18

Mountain 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Edward Greene (RSA) Lowestrates.ca5pts
2Samuel Hakiruwizeye (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs3
3Jimmy Uwingeneye (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs1

Mountain 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Edward Greene (RSA) Lowestrates.ca10pts
2Jimmy Uwingeneye (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs6
3Redwan Ebrahim (Eth) Ethiopia National Team3
4Jean Damascene Ruberwa (Rwa) Club Benediction1

Mountain 3
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Edward Greene (RSA) Lowestrates.ca3pts
2Saymon Musie Mehari (Eri) Eritrea National Team1

Mountain 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Edward Greene (RSA) Lowestrates.ca10pts
2Simon Pellaud (Sui) Team Illuminate6
3Kent Main (RSA) Dimension Data For Qhubeka3

Mountain 5
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jean Bosco Nsengimana (Rwa) Rwanda National Team10pts
2Joseph Areruya (Rwa) Dimension Data For Qhubeka6
3Didier Munyameza (Rwa) Rwanda National Team3
4Valens Ndayisenga (Rwa) Tirol Cycling Team1

Mountain 6
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jean Bosco Nsengimana (Rwa) Rwanda National Team5pts
2Suleiman Kangangi (Ken) Bike Aid3
3Valens Ndayisenga (Rwa) Tirol Cycling Team1

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Rwanda Equipe Nationale13:43:06
2Dimension Data For Qhubeka0:03:27
3Bike Aid0:04:17
4Club Benediction0:14:03
5Eritrea National Team0:16:25
6Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes0:20:59
7Ethiopia National Team0:26:09
8Maurice Equipe Nationale0:28:33
9Les Amis Sportifs0:29:32
10Team Illuminate0:32:13
11Tirol Cycling Team0:32:51
13Kenyan Riders Safaricom1:00:30
14Algerie Equipe Nationale1:06:07

General classification after stage 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Simon Pellaud (Sui) Team Illuminate7:50:22
2Joseph Areruya (Rwa) Dimension Data For Qhubeka0:01:00
3Valens Ndayisenga (Rwa) Tirol Cycling Team0:01:17
4Suleiman Kangangi (Ken) Bike Aid0:01:21
5Patrick Byukusenge (Rwa) Rwanda National Team0:01:25
6Tesfom Okubamariam (Eri) Eritrea National Team0:01:29
7Didier Munyameza (Rwa) Rwanda National Team
8Matthieu Jeannes (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes0:01:30
9Metkel Eyob (Eri) Dimension Data For Qhubeka0:01:38
10Jean Bosco Nsengimana (Rwa) Rwanda National Team0:02:15
11Kibrom Giday (Eth) Ethiopia National Team0:03:19
12Nikodemus Holler (Ger) Bike Aid0:03:36
13Kent Main (RSA) Dimension Data For Qhubeka0:04:42
14Gasore Hategeka (Rwa) Club Benediction0:04:47
15Salim Kipkemboi (Ken) Bike Aid0:04:48
16Brett Wachtendorf (USA) Lowestrates.ca0:04:50
17Bonaventure Uwizeyimana (Rwa) Club Benediction0:05:05
18Jean Claude Uwizeye (Rwa) Rwanda National Team0:05:55
19Olivier Le Court De Billot (Mri) Mauritius National Team0:05:56
20Christopher Rougier-Lagane (Mri) Mauritius National Team0:05:59
21Ephrem Tuyishimire (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs0:06:17
22Adne Van Engelen (Ned) Bike Aid0:06:20
23Stefan De Bod (RSA) Dimension Data For Qhubeka0:10:02
24Azzedine Lagab (Alg) Algeria National Team0:10:12
25Samuel Mugisha (Rwa) Dimension Data For Qhubeka0:10:18
26Aron Debretsion (Eri) Eritrea National Team0:10:19
27Natnael Mebrahtom (Eri) Eritrea National Team0:10:23
28Saymon Musie Mehari (Eri) Eritrea National Team
29Amanueal Tsegay (Eri) Eritrea National Team0:10:29
30Tamrat Meresa Gebrewahd (Eth) Ethiopia National Team0:10:34
31Eric Nduwayo (Rwa) Club Benediction0:10:42
32Valentin Goudin (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes0:10:52
33Jean Damascene Ruberwa (Rwa) Club Benediction0:11:02
34Jean Claude Mfitumukiza (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs0:11:08
35Sylvain Clavel (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes0:15:35
36Griffin Easter (USA) Team Illuminate0:15:38
37John Kariuki (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom0:16:00
38Moran Vermeulen (Aut) Tirol Cycling Team0:17:35
39Jean Paul René Ukiniwabo (Rwa) Rwanda National Team0:18:18
40Fiseha Gebremariam (Eth) Ethiopia National Team0:18:39
41Joshphat Gathiambo (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom0:18:56
42Geoffrey Langat (Ken) Bike Aid0:19:09
43Edward Greene (RSA) Lowestrates.ca0:19:21
44Sébastien Fournet Fayard (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes0:19:39
45Janvier Rugamba (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs0:20:43
46Redwan Ebrahim (Eth) Ethiopia National Team0:22:03
47Alexandre Mayer (Mri) Mauritius National Team0:23:00
48Tedros Redae (Eth) Ethiopia National Team0:23:34
49Islam Mansouri (Alg) Algeria National Team0:23:39
50Daniel Knapp (Aut) Tirol Cycling Team0:24:44
51Jimmy Uwingeneye (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs0:26:48
52Yannick Lincoln (Mri) Mauritius National Team0:27:31
53Alex Nizeyimana (Rwa) Club Benediction0:27:35
54Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Col) Team Illuminate0:29:32
55Jules Cusson Fradet (Can) Lowestrates.ca0:29:56
56Cameron McPhaden (Can) Lowestrates.ca0:32:31
57Andrew Kimutai (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom0:32:56
58Cornelius Kipkemboi Kiplagat (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom0:38:46
59Stephen Keeping (Can) Lowestrates.ca0:38:59
60Abderrahmane Mansouri (Alg) Algeria National Team0:39:10
61Kelvin Kipng'etich Kiplagat (Ken) Kenyan Riders Safaricom0:49:18
62Martin Vlcák (Svk) Dukla Banska Bystrica0:49:28
63Yacine Hamza (Alg) Algeria National Team0:52:00
64Matthew How Saw Keng (Mri) Mauritius National Team0:54:41
65Samuel Hakiruwizeye (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs0:55:01
66Mehdi Lounis (Alg) Algeria National Team0:56:44
67Nicolas Roux (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes0:59:45
68Samuel Oros (Svk) Dukla Banska Bystrica1:18:31

Mountain classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Edward Greene (RSA) Lowestrates.ca28pts
2Jean Bosco Nsengimana (Rwa) Rwanda National Team15
3Samuel Hakiruwizeye (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs13
4Joseph Areruya (Rwa) Dimension Data For Qhubeka9
5Redwan Ebrahim (Eth) Ethiopia National Team9
6Jimmy Uwingeneye (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs7
7Simon Pellaud (Sui) Team Illuminate6
8Kent Main (RSA) Dimension Data For Qhubeka4
9Suleiman Kangangi (Ken) Bike Aid3
10Didier Munyameza (Rwa) Rwanda National Team3
11Ephrem Tuyishimire (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs3
12Valens Ndayisenga (Rwa) Tirol Cycling Team2
13Tesfom Okubamariam (Eri) Eritrea National Team1
14Saymon Musie Mehari (Eri) Eritrea National Team1
15Jean Damascene Ruberwa (Rwa) Club Benediction1
16Jean Paul René Ukiniwabo (Rwa) Rwanda National Team1
17Sébastien Fournet Fayard (Fra) Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes1
18Janvier Rugamba (Rwa) Les Amis Sportifs1

Team classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Rwanda Equipe Nationale23:36:09
2Dimension Data For Qhubeka0:01:53
3Bike Aid0:04:42
4Club Benediction0:15:30
5Eritrea National Team0:17:08
6Haute Savoie Auvergne Rhone Alpes0:22:28
7Ethiopia National Team0:26:53
8Maurice Equipe Nationale0:29:28
9Les Amis Sportifs0:31:39
10Tirol Cycling Team0:38:33
11Team Illuminate0:40:07
13Kenyan Riders Safaricom1:02:24
14Algerie Equipe Nationale1:07:46

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Zeb Woodpower is the Australian editor at Cyclingnews. Based in Sydney, Zeb provides an Australian perspective on the sport with articles ranging from the local to the global . He joined Cyclingnews in 2013.

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