Timothy Rugg in Skol Stage Winner's Jersey © Ben Andrew
November 16, 2016 (Rusizi, Rwanda) – Timothy Rugg of the Canadian LowestRates.ca Cycling Team doubled up today at the Tour du Rwanda, taking his second win during Stage 3 of the 8 day race. Rugg bridged to a group of two riders who had been off the front for most of the stage, over the top of the second to last categorized climb of the day. Rugg made the junction with the break, including mountains classification leader Samuel Mugisha (Club Benediction), and then helped to drive the move on the long technical downhill. Rugg gapped his 2 companions with around 3km to go, near the base of the category 2 finishing climb. Rugg maintained about a 20 second gap until the last 500m ramp to the line, when riders from the main group started to close in. He crossed the line 2 seconds ahead of Joseph Areruya of Club Les Amis Sportifs, and Metkel Eyob of Dimension Data for Qhubeka. Yellow Jersey Valens Ndayisenga (Dimension Data for Qhubeka) finished in 7th place, 11 seconds back.
Valens Ndayisenga in Yellow © Ben Andrew
“With 500m to go, I had 17 seconds. I was in my smallest gear, and I gave it everything I had left, but all I had left was heart. I made it, it was so close, but I made it.” Rugg
Timothy Rugg © Ben Andrew
The LowestRates.ca team continued to have a strong performance overall today, with Brett Wachtendorf retaining his 10th place position in the General Classification, now 3:39 back. Wachtendorf finished 11th on today’s stage, and Edward Greene of South Africa, finished 22nd.
Cameron McPhaden © Ben Andrew
Canadian Guillaume Boivin was active in the main break of the day, which included Mugisha. Boivin struggled on the four categorized climbs early in the day, but was able to regain contact with the leaders on the technical descents, before finally not being able to regain the lead group and passing through the main field on the cat. 1 climb. Boivin spent nearly 85km ahead of the main field today, showing that the 2015 Canadian Road champ is heading into the 2017 season with a great deal of fitness.
Canadians Stephen Keeping and Cameron McPhaden © Ben Andrew
Stephen Keeping © Ben Andrew
Tomorrow, riders will face the 140.7km trek from Rusizi to Huye. The stage again includes 6 categorized climbs, and takes riders through the mountainous jungle of Nyungwe Forest National Park. With over 50km of racing tomorrow taking place between 2,200m and 2,500m, altitude may play a big factor.
Brett Wachtendorf © Ben Andrew
“I think [tomorrow] will be the hardest day yet. There are nearly 90km above 2,000m. Especially towards the end, I think a selection will go on the last climb, if it already hasn’t happened earlier. I just need to be in the top-15 guys, which is easier said than done. And then also pay attention to the nutrition intake.” Wachtendorf.
Lots of spectators along the route again today © Ben Andrew