Team Embrace the World's debutant Julian Hellmann has won stage three of the ongoing 2018 Tour du Rwanda, the longest stage of the annual UCI Africa tour.
The 27-year old beat off stiff competition from a strong field of breakaway riders that entered Musanze together before sprinting to claim the 199.7km stage with a total time of 5 hours, 11 minutes and 4 seconds.
Hellmann beat his closest rival with David Lozano, from USA's Team Novo Nordisk, by eight seconds after the latter clocked 5 hours, 11 minutes and 12 seconds to claim the second spot while South Africa's Calvin Beneke finished third the same time with Jonas Doring, from Team Descartes Romandie, using 5 hours, 11 minutes and 14 seconds to finish fourth.
Two-time Tour du Rwanda champion Valens Ndayisenga was the best Rwandan rider of the stage, finishing in the fifth place with 5 hours, 11 minutes and 15 seconds.
Yellow jersey holder Mugisha finished 13th, 1 minute and 17 seconds behind the stage winner clocking 5 hours, 12minutes and 21 seconds.
At about three kilometers into the race, four riders, including Club Benediction's Janvier Hadi, Benjamin Favre, from Team Haute-Savoie Rhone-Alpes, and Timothy Rugg, from Team Embrace the World, made an early attack.
With 20 kilometers into the race the four cyclists were joined by a bunch of other riders to form a 23-man breakaway opening one minute and fourteen seconds to the peloton that included the yellow jersey holder Samuel Mugisha.
After 32 kilometers into the race, the breakaway had stretched their lead to two minutes and fifty one seconds, racing at an average speed of 43.10 km/h. By the time the leading group entered Muhanga town, the peloton had reduced the deficit by eight seconds.
Hadi claimed the first intermediate sprint that was at 72.8 kilometers beating Yacine Hamza from GSP Algerie and Team Descartes Romandie's Jonas Doring.
The 2016 two-time stage winner Rugg claimed the first King of the Mountain climb that was after 85.4 kilometers beating Doring and Team Rwanda's Didier Munyaneza.
The 32-year old also claimed the second climb that was at 116.5 kilometers beating Rwandan trio of Eric Manizabayo, Moise Mugisha and Didier Munyaneza before Hadi claimed the second and final intermediate sprint of the day after 121 kilometers beating Julian Hellmann, of Team Embrace the World, and Rwandan youngster Munyaneza.
Heading into the final 40 kilometres, five riders, including South Africa's Calvin Beneke, Rugg, Tom Balascovic, from Team Haute-Savoie Rhone-Alpes, and Benediction's Jean Bosco Nsengimana were leading the peloton with a gap down to one minute and three seconds.
Ethiopian 19-year old Mulu Hailemicheal snatched the final King of the Mountain climb after 165.9 kilometers beating Hellmann, Moise Mugisha and Samuel Mugisha.
As the breakaway entered Musanze town, 27-year old Hellmann accelerated beating his rivalsto cross the finish-line eight seconds ahead of Lozano to record his maiden stage win in Tour du Rwanda.
"I saw that gap towards the end and decided to sprint and fortunately it worked. This is incredible, I am very happy, thank you all so much," a visibly excited Hellmann said.
Heading into Stage Four today, Mugisha still leads the general classification with a total time of 10h34'00" followed by Jean Claude Uwizeye (10h34'21") who is tied on the same time as Ethiopian Hailemicheal in third position.
Meanwhile, riders will set off from Musanze town this morning heading to Karongi District in Western Province via Rutsiro District in Stage 4, a 135.8 kilometer ride that is one of the new stage routes this year, and the second longest stage in this year's edition after Stage 3.
Stage four: Musanze-Karongi (135.8km)
Stage three: Huye-Musanze 199.7km
1. Julian Hellmann (Team Embrace the World) 05h11'04"
2. David Lozano (Team Novo Nordisk) 05h11'12"
3. Calvin Beneke (South Africa) 05h11'12"
4. Jonas Doring (Team Descartes Romandie) 05h11'14"
5. Valens Ndayisenga (POC Cote de Lumiere) 05h'11'15"
General Classification ranking
1. Samuel Mugisha (Team Rwanda) 10h34'00"
2. Jean Claude Uwizeye (POC Cote de Lumiere) 10h34'21"
3. Mulu Hailemicheal (Ethiopia) 10h34'21"
4. David Lozano (Team Novo Nordisk) 10h35'55"
5. Jonas Doring (Team Descartes Romandie) 10h36'07"