African Champion Mulueberhane claims Yellow Jersey after stage 3 win

21 February 2023 at 22:46  

Eritrean Henok Mulueberhane rode his way into the Yellow Jersey after winning stage 3 of the oingoing 15th edition of Tour du Rwanda on Tuesday.

It was a matter of time. After finishing third and second in the first and second stages respectively, it is fair to say that a stage win for the 22-year-old African champion, Mulueberhane, was on cards.

What a way to win it! He overcame the longest stage of the 2023 tour which cut through Rwanda from the south to the north, beat his closest opponents on the sprint after enduring unforgiving hills of Rulindo, Gicumbi, Gakenke to Musanze.

The Eritrean cyclist covered the 199.5km distance from Huye, in Southern Province, to Musanze, in Northern Province, in five hours, 13 minutes and 37 seconds.

Mulueberhane, who is riding for Italian side Green Project-Bardiani, unseats British cyclist Ethan Vernon who won the opening two stages.

Rwandans on the rise?

On the other hand, Rwandan riders may wait another day to win a stage in this year’s tour but they are slowly and steadily going up the General Classification stand.

Eric Muhoza was the best Rwandan on Tuesday, crossing the finish-line in 14th place, 11 seconds behind stage winner Mulueberhane. Muhoza moves up into the 9th position in the GC.

It was a busy afternoon for Team Rwanda rider Jean-Bosco Nsengimana who spent the entire afternoon at the head of the three-men breakaway right for the 1st Kilometer only to drop off 20 kilometers to the finish line after sweeping almost all the climber classification points but one which was won by Marc Pritzen from team EF Education.

The third man, James Fouche (Bolton Equities was part of the breakaway again, coming strong on intermediate sprints yet still.

At some point, Nsengimana had an 11 minute lead ahead of the peloton and for the moment he was a virtual GC leader of this 15th edition of Tour du Rwanda.

Is Rwanda getting closer to the Podium finish? Your guess is as good as mine.

But all could still change in the fourth Stage from Musanze to Karongi on Wednesday where riders will cover 138,3 KM including overcoming 3 summits.