A disappointing showing during the Nyanza-Gicumbi stage on Tuesday, May 3, left local cyclists' hopes of winning the first Tour du Rwanda under the UCI 2.1 category under serious scrutiny with best-performing Rwandan rider Eric Muhoza, now falling over five minutes behind Colombian Brayan Sanchez, who retained the yellow jersey after three stages.
The Colombian, who plays for Team Medellin, takes the yellow jersey from Umba Lopez Abner Santiago (Androni Giocattoli) as leads the race with 10h2'5" with Hoehn Alex Wildlife (Generation Pro), Pacher Quentin (B&B Hotels), Restrepo Valencia Johnathan (Androni Giocattoli) and Piccoli James (Isreal Start-up National) completing the top five with the same times overall.
B&B Hotels rider Alan Boileau won the stage, his second stage at the race, from Nyanza to Gicumbi, clocking 4h23'57" on Tuesday, May 4.
Nyanza-Gicumbi stage is the longest this year with a distance of 171, 6 kilometres.
Team Rwanda rider Eric Muhoza finished in 24th position with 4h 25'59", two minutes and seconds behind the stage winner Boileau.
In what looked to be the most grueling stage of the race so far, Sanchez said it's too soon to celebrate the Yellow jersey with five more stages to go.
"I am happy but we still have a long way to go. I have ridden well particularly in this route with my team with flat roads and steep slopes, many riders find it difficult to maintain concentration," a beaming Sanchez said.
"I am happy for my teammates too because we are working as a team. We have managed to put in action the plan we discussed last night" he added
The race resumes on Wednesday as riders head to Musanze, departing from Kigali (Kimironko) in a distance of 123, 9 kilometres.
Munyaneza bows out of the race
Meanwhile, Rwandan cyclist Didier Munyaneza, who rides for Ignite Benediction, crashed out of the competition after suffering an accident in Nkoto, Kamonyi District, during Stage 3.
The 23-year-old abandoned the race after covering 60km of the 171.6km distance from Nyanza to Gicumbi and will, according to the rules of the race, be ruled out of the entire competition.
He follows teammate Joseph Areruya who left the race in Stage 2 on Monday, May 3, following his bike puncture in Muhanga.
With Algerians Sahiri Ayoub and Mansouri Hamza as well as Tesfom Sirak of Eritrea pulled out of the tournament also pulled out of stage three, the race now remains with 70 riders.
Stage 3 Classification
Boileau Alan (B&B HOTELS) 4h23'57" Quintero Norena Carlos Julian (Terengganu Cycling) 4h23'57" Piccoli James (Israel Start-Up Nation) 4h23'57" Brayan Sanchez (Team Medellin) 4h23'57" Eyob Metkel (Terengganu Cycling) 4h23'57"
Brayan Sanchez (Team Medellin) 10h5'2' Hoehn Alex Wildlife (Generation Pro) 10h5'2" Pacher Quentin (B&B HOTELS) 10h5'2" Restrepo Valencia Jhonatan (Androni Giocattoli) 10h5'2" Piccoli James (Israel Start-Up Nation) 10h5'2"