Frenchman Bonnet wins Stage 4, tops CG

22 February 2023 at 22:00  

Thomas Bonnet from Team TotalEnergies finally won a stage of his own in perfect style to win the 4th stage of Tour du Rwanda 2023.

From the beginning of this tour, Bonnet and his teammates have come agonizingly close to a podium finish on 3 attempts only to be denied by Ethan Vernon and Henok Mulubrhan.

In his recent post-race interviews, Bonnet had continuously emphasized that “It was a matter of time” before his team recorded a stage win in Tour du Rwanda.

In the first stage, Bonnet’s teammate Emilien Jeannière finished second and noted that “they will be other stages”. Tell me a more determined team.

On Wednesday, Bonnet proved that nothing can ever fail a team of determined souls working for a common goal. The 24-year-old put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to cover 138.3 kilometres in three hours 19 minutes and 23 seconds, five seconds ahead of second-placed Mark Stewart of British side Bolton Equities Black SP. In so doing, he opened a 20-second gap ahead of Mulueberhane who dropped to second place in the general classification.

After the race, Bonnet used one phrase to summarize his stage victory: “We blew it all up”. He did. They did!

Going into the second half of the 8-day race, Team TotalEnergies’s focus now shifts from just winning a stage to winning it all. Can they retain Yellow Jersey? No one knows at this particular moment considering that 3 men have exchanged the coveted jersey in four days. Tight, unpredictable race it is becoming.

The fifth day of racing features a lot of small climbing throughout the day.

The 11.2Km at 4.9% and 21.2Km at 2.8% ascents will be the main points of attack surely, however a 1.7Km ascent, very close to the finish in Rubavu, can further provide terrain for decisive moves.

Stage Four prize winners

Stage Winner: Bonnet Thomas (Total Directe Energies)

Yellow Jersey holder: Thomas Bonnet (Total Directe Energies)

Best Climber: Marc Oliver Pritzen (EF Education-Nippo)

Best Sprinter: Fouche James (Bolton Equities)

Best Young Rider: Lecerf William Junior (Soudal Quick Step Devo Team)

Best Rwandan: Eric Muhoza (Bike Aid)

Best African Rider: Henok Mulueberhan (Green Project)

Best Team of the day: Total Direct Energies (France)

Best Combative Rider: Akilu Arefayne (Team Erythrea)

Best in Breakaway: Stewart Mark (Soudal Quick Step Devo Team)