Stage winner Metkel Eyob bridging to the break on the final climb of the day © Ben Andrew
November 18, 2016 (Musanze, Rwanda) – Dimension Data for Qhubeka continued their strong showing at the Tour du Rwanda during the 125.8km Stage 5, with Eritrean Metkel Eyob taking the win. The Stage began in the town of Muhanga to Musanze in the northern province of Rwanda and featured five categorized climbs, including three cat. 1 climbs. The tough stage split the race with many riders falling victim to the pace driven by Dimension Data at the front of the main group. Valens Ndayisenga kept the yellow jersey, having now spent four days in the lead following his win on Stage 2. Eyob, with his aggressive ride today, propelled himself up the General Classification standings from 5th to 2nd. Dimension Data for Qhubeka now sits 1st and 2nd on GC.
Original break including Edward Greene and Boivin © Ben Andrew
The stage was animated by a nine-rider breakaway that escaped at the base of the first categorized climb of the day at only 7km in. The move was initiated by Cameron McPhaden of the Canadian LowestRates.ca Cycling Team, who was joined by fellow Canuck, Guillaume Boivin of the Cycling Academy Team. McPhaden was unable to maintain Boivin’s pace as the break began to grow in numbers. Edward Greene (Rsa) LowestRates.ca Cycling Team was able to counter McPhaden’s move to join the front of the race. The break began to dwindle on the forth categorized climb of the day, an 18.8km cat. 1 that averaged 4.2%. On the ascent Boivin lost contact with the break, and briefly with the main field.
Edward Green in break © Ben Andrew
By the final climb of the day, the original break had been reduced to just three riders, including Greene, Gasore Hategeka (Rwanda Equipe Nationale) and Kibrom Giday (Ethiopia National Team). The gap dropped to under 30 seconds in the final kilometers of the climb, and several riders, including Eyob, were able to bridge to the lead group. Greene was unable to follow the renewed pace over the top, having spent much of the day at the front of the race, and was absorbed by the field, finishing 16th on the stage.
Brett Wachtendorf chasing on after a flat © Ben Andrew
LowestRates.ca Cycling Team’s GC hopeful Brett Wachtendorf suffered an untimely flat at the base of the penultimate climb, and although he was able to rejoin the main contenders, the effort proved to be too taxing. He would later concede 3:29 on the stage, falling from 10th to 18th overall. Wachtendorf, along with his teammates will look to capitalize on the final mountain day tomorrow, as the Tour heads from Musanze back to Kigali.
Stage 5 winner Metkel Eyob © Ben Andrew
The rather short 103.9km stage includes four category 1 climbs, with the final two on a finishing circuit. Adding to the difficulty, a steep cobbled section, of 500m in length, and averaging 12%, will greet riders at 89km and 101km into the race. Officials have suggested that the stage may be shortened if wet due to rider safety on the technical finishing circuit. With Sunday’s final stage consisting of a circuit race in Kigali, tomorrow may be the last real chance for the GC favourites to put any real time into each other.
Spectators © Ben Andrew
1. Metkel Eyob (Eri) Dimension Data for Qhubeka 3:15:57
2. Patrick Byukusenge (Rwa) Club Benediction de Rubavu
3. Kbrom Jaylay (EDRE) Ethiopia National Team
4. Gasore Htegeka (Rwa) Rwanda Equipe Nationale
5. Bonaventure Uwizeyimana (Rwa) Dimension Data for Qhubeka 0:46
14. Timothy Rugg (USA) LowestRates.ca
21. Edward Greene (Rsa) LowestRates.ca
22. Guillaume Boivin (Can) Cycling Academy Team 3:29
23. Brett Wachendorf (USA) LowestRates.ca
59. Cameron McPhaden (Can) LowestRates.ca 37:04