Moise Mugisha, the newly crowned Tour du Cameroun champion and his teammates received a heroes' welcome in Kigali on Tuesday after Team Rwanda dominated the race that concluded on Sunday, June 12.
Rwanda topped the team classification, while Mugisha, 25, took home the coveted Yellow Jersey, despite not winning a single stage during the eight-day race.
Mugisha, who trailed the leader by more than five minutes after the first stage, won the 1,066km race with a time of 26 hours, 34 minutes and 22 seconds, 32 seconds ahead of runner-up Andreev Yordan of Bulgaria.
Speaking to members of the press upon the team's arrival at Kigali International Airport, Mugisha revealed that he went into the race 'a bit sick' and at some point, felt he would not finish but kept going with the push of his teammates.
"I was a bit sick before the race but I felt better as the race progressed," he said. "The first five days were particularly difficult but we kept fighting as a team. I did not think I would even finish the race, so it makes this victory extremely important."
The ProTouch rider says top contenders did not see him as a threat and instead closely monitored his compatriot Didier Munyaneza and that helped him to use the chance when he got it.
"During Stage 7, I got a chance to escape the Yellow Jersey group and I used it. They did not see me as a threat."
Before the penultimate seventh stage on June 11, Mugisha was four minutes and two seconds behind then leader Andreev, but ended the day with the Yellow Jersey and a 32-second advantage at the top.
Mugisha's Tour du Cameroon victory comes just weeks after winning this year's Race to Remember on May 22. He also claimed the final stage of the 2022 Tour du Rwanda in February.